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Hunter Kemper


triathlon headshots
  • 2000
  • 2004
  • 2008
  • 2012
Name: Hunter Kemper
Weight: 167
Date of Birth: 5/4/1976
Birthplace: Charlotte, N.C.
Hometown: Colorado Springs, Colo. 
High School:
Lake Brantley High School
College: Wake Forest University '98, Business

Olympic Highlights

  • 2000 Olympic Games, 17th
  • 2004 Olympic Games, 9th
  • 2008 Olympic Games, 7th
  • 2012 Olympic Games, 14th

Career Highlights
Four-time U.S. Olympic Team Member (2012, 2008, 2004, 2000)
Seven-time USA Triathlon Elite National Champion (1998, 1999, 2001, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2011)
USA Triathlon National Team Member
Longest-standing resident (on- and off-campus) at the Colorado Springs Olympic Training Center (1999 to present)
Placed seventh at the 2008 Olympic Games
2007 Haul to the Great Wall Series Champion
Ranked No. 1 in the 2005 ITU world rankings
2005 USOC Sportsman of the Year
2003 Pan Am Games Gold Medalist
1999, 2000, 2003-04 USOC Triathlete of the Year
1999 Pan Am Games Silver Medalist

Elite Triathlon Career
Posted top-five finishes in back-to-back weeks in May, with a third-place finish at the Monterrey CAMTRI Triathlon on May 1 and a fourth-place effort at the Chengdu ITU World Cup on May 9 • Began the season on March 14 with a sixth-place finish at the Sarasota CAMTRI Sprint Triathlon American Cup

Logged back-to-back top-10 finishes in ITU World Cups in October, finishing seventh in Cartagena on Oct. 12 and sixth in Tongyeong on Oct. 18 • Finished as the second American and 23rd overall at ITU World Triathlon Chicago, which also served as the USA Triathlon Elite National Championships • Made his return to ITU racing after nearly one year off the circuit with a fourth-place finish at the Dallas PATCO Triathlon Pan American Championships

Placed third at the USA Triathlon National Championships on March 20 • Finished 25th at the ITU World Triathlon San Diego on April 19

2012: USA Triathlon National Team member and a 2012 U.S. Olympian • Finished as the No. 4 American and 50th overall in the 2012 ITU World Triathlon Series rankings • Finished second in the 2012 Race to the Toyota Cup series standings • Took third at the Toyota U.S. Open Triathlon in Rockwell, Texas • Placed fourth at the Los Angeles Triathlon • Placed second at the Hy-Vee Triathlon • First-place finisher at the Chicago Triathlon • Made fourth career Olympic Games appearance in London • Placed 14th at the Games to rank as the top U.S. men’s finisher for the fourth consecutive Olympic Triathlon • Won the Life Time Fitness Triathlon in Minneapolis • Winner of the Capital of Texas Triathlon in Austin, Texas • Qualified for an unprecedented fourth U.S. Olympic Triathlon Team with a fifth-place finish at the ITU World Triathlon San Diego • In his first race in seven months, Kemper posted a 30:27 10k split and moved his way into Olympic-qualifying position on the final lap of the run in San Diego • Kemper and Canada’s Simon Whitfield are the only two men to have qualified for all four Olympic triathlons; Kemper is the only male to finish all four Olympic triathlons

2011: Runner-up in the five-event 2011 USA Triathlon Elite Race Series • Suffered a broken elbow in the series finale in Myrtle Beach, forcing him to miss the 2011 Pan American Games • Won a record seventh men’s USA Triathlon Elite National Championship title in Buffalo, N.Y., in 2011 • Wrapped up the 2011 ITU World Championship Series as the No. 2 American and 45th overall • Finished second at the 2011 Hy-Vee Triathlon Elite Cup • Earned his third ITU World Cup podium finish of the 2011 season, taking bronze in Edmonton • Winner of the second stop of the 2011 USA Triathlon Elite Race Series in Monroe, Wash. • Finished second at the 2011 Capitol of Texas Triathlon • Earned a second straight 2011 World Cup podium finish by taking third in Monterrey, Mexico • Broke away on the run to earn gold at the 2011 Ishigaki ITU World Cup • The victory marked his first World Cup title since 2005 and the fourth of his career • Named the USOC’s male Athlete of the Month for April 2011 following his win in Ishigaki

2010: Limited by injury for much of 2010 • Winner of the 2010 Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon • Finished 10th at the 2010 ITU World Championship Series opener in Sydney

2009: Saw limited race action in 2009 due to injury but was still fourth among Americans and 47th overall in the 2009 ITU World Championship rankings • Posted top-five finishes in both ITU races on U.S. soil in 2009, finishing second in Oklahoma City and fifth in Washington, D.C.

2008: Member of the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team and was the top American with a seventh-place finish • Took third at the 2008 U.S. Olympic Trials in Tuscaloosa, Ala. • Also placed sixth at Hy-Vee and 10th at the Lifetime Fitness Triathlon in Minneapolis in 2008 • Finished 2008 ranked fourth among Americans and 50th overall in the 2008 ITU World Cup rankings

2007 and earlier: 2007 Haul to the Great Wall Series Champion • Won ITU Longmont Continental Cup in 2007 • Won unprecedented sixth USAT elite national title in 2006 • 2006 Lifetime Fitness Triathlon champion • Tied career-best with seventh place finish at 2006 ITU World Championship in Lausanne, Switzerland • Earned podium finishes at three World Cup events in 2006 (Edmonton, Ishigaki, Mooloolaba) • In 2005, Kemper became the first U.S. man to be ranked No. 1 in the ITU world rankings • Named 2005 USOC SportsMan of the Year • Named 2005 USOC Male Triathlete of the Year • Recipient of 2005 Jim Thorpe All-Around Award • Qualified for the 2004 Olympic team by finishing as the first American, second overall at the Race to Athens - Honolulu • Qualified for the 2003 ITU World Championships, but did not compete due to illness • Victory at the 2003 ITU World Cup in Madrid, Spain, was the first World Cup win for a U.S. male since Wes Hobson in 1994 • Won the first gold medal ever for a U.S. male at the Pan American Games in 2003 • Qualified for the 2003 Pan American team by finishing as the first U.S. man at the Baker's Breakfast Cookies ITU International Triathlon • Named the USOC Male Triathlete of the Year for 2000 • Helped win three spots for U.S. men at 2000 Games in Sydney when he placed seventh at the ITU World Championships in Perth, Australia, a race he hadn't been planning to do • Once the United States had three spots, Hunter got one of them by virtue of his 11th-place finish at the ITU World Cup in Sydney • Defeated American record holder Steve Scott by almost five seconds at the 2000 Competitor Magazine/Greg Welch Mile, in conjunction with the San Diego (Calif.) Indoor Games • Earned a silver medal at the 1999 Pan American Games.

Amateur Triathlon Career: In 1997, won the USA Triathlon Amateur National Championship at the Columbia (Md.) Triathlon • Won the Goodings Sprint Triathlon in Clermont, Fla. • In 1996, was the first U.S. Amateur and sixth junior at the ITU World Championship in Cleveland, Ohio • Named USA Triathlon Junior Athlete of the Year and All-American by Inside Triathlon • Was the first junior and third overall at the Boulder (Colo.) Peak Triathlon, defeating 1997 world champion Chris McCormack who finished fourth • Was the first junior and second overall at the Monument Park Sprint Triathlon in Colorado Springs, Colo. • Member of the 1996 USA Triathlon Junior National Team • In 1993, won the junior division of the USA Triathlon National Sprint Championship in Miami, Fla. • Was the fourth junior at the USA Triathlon Amateur National Championship at Leon's QEM Triathlon in Hammond, Ind. • Was the first junior and fourth overall at the Wendy's Triathlon in Columbus, Ohio • Named an all-American by Inside Triathlon • In 1992, won the junior division at the USAT National Amateur Championship in Cleveland • From 1986-90, won five consecutive IronKids Triathlon National Championship titles from the age of 10-14.

Athletic Background: Began swimming competitively at age 6 • Swam for Parnell Barracudas Club team in Orlando, Fla. • Was introduced to triathlon at age 10 by friends on his swim team • Ran cross country and track in college to improve his running in triathlons • Sent an inquiry letter to the Wake Forest cross country and track programs and received a letter from the coaches along with a women's media guide • His non-gender specific name and relatively slow times caused the coaches to assume he was a female • Before college, running was his weakest discipline • Took 1994-95 off from triathlon to concentrate on his running • Decided to return to the sport in 1996 because it was his last chance to race as a junior at a World Championship (Cleveland, Ohio) • Four-year letterwinner in cross country and track at Wake Forest University • As a senior, was second in the 10,000 meters at the 1998 ACC Outdoor Track Championship (30:46) and ninth as a junior in 1997 • His 10K personal best is 30:17 • Was eighth at the 1998 ACC Indoor Track Championship • Was the 1996 Florida Cycling Time-Trial Amateur Champion.

Parents, Gretchen and Tom, live in Longwood, Fla. • Older sister Leigh is a kindergarten teacher in Orlando • On June 14, 2003, Kemper married Val Sterk, a former all-American volleyball player at Michigan State University and a former member of the U.S. national volleyball team • The two met while training at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs • Has three sons: Davis Thomas, Hudson Frank and Case Henry, and one daughter: Price Clara • Kemper was featured in the Dec. 11, 1989, issue of Sports Illustrated's "Faces In The Crowd" for then being the only 13-year-old to win the Senior Division (11-14) of the IronKids Triathlon National Championship • Earned a B.A. in business from Wake Forest in May 1998 • Named to the Dean's List every semester during college • Received Wake Forest Athletic Academic Excellence Award each of his four years • Named to the ACC Academic Honor Roll, Golden Key National Honor Society, Omicron Delta Kappa (honorary leadership fraternity) • If he could only have one food for the rest of his life, it would be pizza • Became the first professional triathlete to be featured on the cover of the Wheaties cereal box in 2007 • Featured in a September 1999 issue of Rolling Stone Magazine, as part of an Olympic athlete fashion feature • Featured in VISA ad called "Kangaroo Dreams" and a Chevy Trucks ad before the 2000 Olympic Games.

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