Hunter Kemper Going for the Gold
Full Name: Hunter Craig Kemper
Hometown: Longwood, Fla.
Resides: Colorado Springs, Colo.
College: Wake Forest University
Birthplace: Charlotte, N.C.
First Year Elite: 1998
2010 ITU Rank: 67
2010 USAT Rank: 7
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Hunter Kemper's 2008 Olympic Profile
USAT National Team Member
Three-time Olympian (2008, 2004, 2000)
Placed seventh at the 2008 Olympic Games
2007 Haul to the Great Wall Series Champion
2005 ITU #1 Ranked in the World
2005 USOC Sportsman of the Year
2003 Pan Am Games Gold Medalist
2000-07 Resident Team Member
1999, 2000, 2003-04 USOC Triathlete of the Year
1999 Pan Am Games Silver Medalist
1998, 1999, 2001, 2003, 2005, 2006 Elite National Champion
Elite Triathlon Career: 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 • 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. • 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 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.
Personal: Hunter Craig Kemper • Born May 4, 1976, in Charlotte, N.C. • Moved to Longwood (Orlando), Fla., when he was one • 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 a son, Davis Thomas Kemper • 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.