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Nearly 500 Team USA triathletes targeting age-group world titles in Gold Coast

Bike riders - USA Triathlon - Photo by Wagner Araujo

Hundreds of talented amateur triathletes from across the US are set to compete for world titles next week at the ITU Age Group Sprint and Standard Triathlon World Championships, held as part of the ITU World Triathlon Grand Final in Gold Coast, Australia.

The US contingent hails from 44 states, with athletes ranging in age from 16 to 89 years old. California is the most-represented state with 63 athletes, followed by Florida with 44 and Colorado with 27.

At the 2017 ITU Age Group Triathlon World Championships in Rotterdam, Netherlands, Team USA raced to 33 world championship medals between the sprint and standard events, including 11 golds, 12 silvers and 10 bronzes.

The ITU World Triathlon Grand Final, held from September 12-16, marks the culmination of the ITU World Triathlon Series by crowning the men’s and women’s elite world champions. The week of racing also features ITU Paratriathlon, Junior and U23 World Championships.

The ITU Age Group Sprint Triathlon World Championships kick off Grand Final week on Thursday, September 13th, at 10:00 local time (20:00 ET). The race covers a 750m swim in the Coral Sea, a 20k bike along Gold Coast Highway and a 5k run finishing in Mitchell Park. For the third consecutive year, the sprint race will be contested in a draft-legal format.

Sprint-distance competitors qualified for Team USA by earning a top-six finish at the 2017 USA Triathlon Age Group Sprint National Championships in Omaha, Nebraska, a top-12 finish at the 2017 USA Triathlon Draft-Legal World Qualifier in Sarasota-Bradenton, Florida, or by placing near the top of the USA Triathlon year-end rankings for their respective age groups.

The Standard (Olympic-Distance) Triathlon World Championships will take place Sunday, September 16th, at 06:15 local time (16:15 ET). The course features a 1,500m swim, 40k bike and 10k run. Standard-distance athletes qualified for Team USA with a top-18 age-group finish at the 2017 USA Triathlon Olympic-Distance Age Group National Championships in Omaha, or by placing near the top of the USA Triathlon year-end rankings for their respective age groups.

The Sprint World Championships will feature four returning gold medallists from Team USA: Philip Friedman (Erie, Pa., M65-69), Sheila Isaacs (Shoreham, N.Y., F80-84), Jack Welber (Boulder, Colo., M80-84) and Winston Allen (St. Augustine, Fla., M85-89). Friedman and Allen will be aiming for three-peats, as they also won world titles in 2016 in Cozumel, Mexico.

Diane Mohwinkel (Anchorage, Ak., F75-79) and Wayne Fong (Chatsworth, Calif., M85-89) are back on the sprint-distance start list after claiming silver in their age divisions last year. Defending bronze medalists Rick Kozlowski (San Diego, Calif., M65-69) and Ruth Hamilton (McLean, Va., F70-74) also return to the sprint race.

Three gold medallists from the 2017 Standard World Championships will be in Gold Coast to defend their titles: Adrienne Leblanc (Scottsdale, Ariz., F45-49), Lee Walther (Oklahoma City, Okla., M55-59) and Jon Adamson (Alpharetta, Ga., M80-84).

Kirsten Sass (McKenzie, Tenn.), the defending silver medallist for women 35-39 in the standard distance, will be busy the day before her race. In addition to competing as an individual on Sunday, she will guide Amy Dixon (Encinitas, Calif.), an elite visually-impaired paratriathlete, in Saturday’s ITU Paratriathlon World Championships.

Sharon Johnson (Andover, Mass.) and Donna Smyers (Adamant, Vt.) both return to the women’s 60-64 age group after claiming silver and bronze respectively in 2017. Sibyl Jacobson (New York, N.Y., F75-79), the 2017 silver medalist for women 70-74, will aim for a world title just two weeks after winning her age group at the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship in South Africa.




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