USA Triathlon Taking Steps to Have Triathlon Added to Paralympic Games Program

March 04, 2009, 5:24 p.m. (ET)

The sport of triathlon has made another important step toward inclusion on the program for future Paralympic Games.

Members of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) took part in the International Triathlon Union meetings in Madrid last September and suggested that triathlon could be the "marquee" event the Paralympics needs.

The meeting also resulted in a name change. The sport will now be called ParaTriathlon, replacing the previous international designation of Athletes With A Disability (AWAD). USAT's Board of Directors unanimously adopted the newly created branding to replace USAT's own Physically Challenged (PC) category.

"This is an important step for the sport as we move to bring triathlon into the Paralympics," said USAT CEO Skip Gilbert. "We look forward to working with other National Federations and ITU to prove to the IOC that our sport should be included."

A recent poll of the 122 nations that comprise the ITU found that there are over 750 active disabled triathletes in the world from over 40 countries worldwide. Many more than the 24 that is required for a successful application for Paralympic inclusion.

"This is an exciting development in our sport," said Jon Beeson, USAT's ParaTriathlon Committee chair and a member of the ITU ParaTriathlon Committee. "Those sessions in Madrid yielded more information and unofficial encouragement than anyone could have imagined on the viability of reaching the goal of inclusion into the Paralympic Games."

The ITU plans to submit the application to the IPC by the end of 2009, and if accepted, will propose a non-medal demonstration race at the 2011 Pan American Games and at the 2012 London Olympic Games.

Learn more about ParaTriathlon.

Athletes interested in being a part of the USAT ParaTriathlon National Team should download the Selection Criteria and Team Application.