2001-07 Resident Athlete
Full Name: Joseph Benjamin Umphenour
Hometown: Bellevue, Wash.
Resides: Colorado Springs, Colo.
College: University of Wisconsin
Birth Place: Seattle, Wash.
Years Elite: 12
Final 2007 ITU Rank: 66
Final 2007 USAT Rank: 5
Personal: Joseph Benjamin Umphenour… Born Jan. 5, 1969 in Seattle, Wash… Earned dual degrees in political science and international relations at the University of Wisconsin in 1992… Began dreaming of the Olympics when Mary Wayte, a member of his swim club, won a gold medal in 1984 in Los Angeles in the 200 freestyle… In 2002, Joe carried the Olympic torch through Colorado Springs on its way to Salt Lake City for the Winter Games… Nicknamed “Tigger” because of his red hair and energetic attitude… Has also been called “Casper the friendly ghost” because of his fair skin… The main thing he worries about before a race is applying an appropriate amount of high SPF sunblock… Enjoys backpacking, cross-country skiing, experimental cooking, herb gardens and rock climbing… As a child, loved to eat Tabasco sauce on everything… Eats a bagel and fruit as a pre-race meal.
Elite Triathlon Career: In a stellar performance at the 2008 USAT Elite National Championship, the 39-year-old used a phenomenal last-lap kick to finish second – his first national championship podium in his 12 years of elite competition. ... Did not compete at the 2004 world championships due to a calf injury. Brian Fleischmann took his place… Suffered a calf injury during the Race to Athens – Honolulu, which hurt his chances of making the 2004 Olympic team… Qualified for the 2003 world championship team due to second-place ranking in U.S. by cutoff date… Fifth-place finish at 2003 ITU World Cup race in Gamagori, Japan, was his best ever… Got a late start on the 2003 season due to hernia surgery in February, 2003… Was the top U.S. men's finisher at the 2001 World Championships … Joined USA Triathlon's resident team program in the spring of 2001… Had one of the best races of his career on June 3, 2001, when he was the first American, and third overall, at the Tinman Triathlon in Shreveport, La. Race was the qualifier for the world championships and also an ITU points race… Competed at the 2000 Olympic Trials three weeks after breaking his arm in a training accident.
Amateur Triathlon Career: In 1996, was the fourth amateur overall and first in the 25-29 age group at the ITU World Championship in Cleveland, Ohio… Finished third overall and first in the 25-29 age group at the Amateur National Championship in Orange County, Calif… Was third overall and the first amateur at the Memphis (Tenn.) in May Triathlon… Finished 84th at the Hawaii Ironman… In 1995, was the 11th Amateur and fifth in the 25-29 age group at the ITU World Championship in Cancun, Mexico… Was 17th overall and seventh at the Amateur National Championship in Chicago, Ill… Was 290th at the Hawaii Ironman after exiting the swim in the top five… In 1994, was 53rd at the Hawaii Ironman, exiting the water fifth.
Athletic Background: Began swimming at age 8… Swam for the Chinook Aquatic Club in Bellevue, Wash… In high school, participated in cross-country, swimming and track… During his senior year of high school, was the captain of his team that won the Washington High School Championship… Was a four-year letter winner in swimming at Wisconsin… Swam “all the events no one else wanted to swim:” 200 butterfly, 400 IM, 500 freestyle, 1,500 freestyle… Has a personal best 400 IM of 3:57 and 1,500 freestyle of 15:59… Competed in his first triathlon when he was 13.