Rio 2016 venue: Fort Copacabana (Copacabana Zone)
Competition dates: Aug. 18 (men), Aug. 20 (women)
Medal events: 2 (men’s and women’s individual)
Olympic introduction: 2000 (Sydney, Australia)

Team USA looks to carry the outstanding success of the 2015 season into the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in hopes of capturing an Olympic medal for the first time since 2004, when Susan Williams earned the bronze medal.

The U.S. women were consistently the most dominant force in the sport of triathlon in 2015, with 2012 Olympians and 2016 U.S. Olympic qualifiers Gwen Jorgensen and Sarah True leading the charge. Along with relative newcomer Katie Zaferes, the U.S. women raced to two podium sweeps at 2015 ITU World Triathlon Series races in Gold Coast, Australia, and London, making history as only the second nation to claim a podium sweep in WTS history and the first nation to ever earn two podium sweeps in one season. Between these three women, the U.S. won 16 of the possible 30 medals awarded as part of the 2015 ITU World Triathlon Series.

At the ITU World Olympic Qualification Event on Aug. 2, 2015, the U.S. women had three finishers in the top six, with Jorgensen grabbing the victory, True finishing fourth and Zaferes in sixth. Since only two athletes could automatically qualify at the test event, Zaferes relied on her performances in other events to clinch a spot on the team. A six-time medal winner on the 2015 ITU World Triathlon Series circuit, Zaferes was named to the team after the final qualification event on May 14, 2016, in Yokohama, Japan, where she finished six.

The U.S. men are also fielding a team of three athletes with better representation in the standings than four years ago when only two men were eligible to compete. The complete men’s roster was determined following the results of the final qualification event in Yokohama. Joe Maloy finished 11th to move into the lead spot in USA Triathlon’s Objective Ranking System on the heels of a career-best sixth-place finish at ITU World Triathlon Gold Coast in April. Greg Billington, the top finisher at the ITU World Olympic Qualification Event in 15th, and Ben Kanute, the youngest team member and reigning USA Triathlon Elite National Champion, also qualified for the team.

Athletes To Watch
Greg Billington 
Billington was the top U.S. finisher at the ITU World Olympic Qualification event in August 2015. Though he had to sit out a large portion of the 2014 season due to injury, he returned in 2015 with solid results, racing to three top-10 finishes in ITU World Cup events and two top-20 finishes on the ITU World Triathlon Series circuit.

Gwen Jorgensen
Considered the most dominant triathlete in the sport’s history, Jorgensen heads to Rio as the gold-medal favorite. The two-time world champion represented Team USA at the London 2012 Games, but suffered a flat tire on the bike and finished 38th overall. She truly came into form in 2014 when she won four consecutive ITU World Triathlon Series events, a first in the history of the series, and continued her winning streak through 2015 with a total of 13 consecutive series wins. The streak was ended in 2016 when she finished second to Great Britain’s Helen Jenkins in Gold Coast, Australia. In 2015, her run splits were on average nearly 30 seconds faster than the competition and she will look to showcase her running prowess as she attempts to become the first American triathlete to win an Olympic medal since 2004, and the first-ever to win Olympic gold.

Joe Maloy 
Maloy has had a breakthrough season in 2014, racing to a career-best sixth place at ITU World Triathlon Gold Coast and an 11th-place effort at ITU World Triathlon Yokohama this spring. Maloy is typically a consistent performer and won the USA Triathlon Elite National Championship title in 2014. He also won the 2015 Noosa Triathlon in Queensland, Australia, the first American man to do so in the 33-year history of the race.

Sarah True 
The fourth-place finisher at the London 2012 Olympics, True has remained a consistent force in the sport, finishing on the world championship podium for the past two years. True is often at the front of the field on the swim and posted top-10 finishes in eight of the nine races she started in 2015, leading to a No. 3 world ranking. She won her first World Triathlon Series title in 2014 at the series stop in Stockholm, Sweden, and picked up a repeat win in 2015. 

Katie Zaferes 
Zaferes made her elite debut in 2013 and had a breakthrough season in 2015, finishing on the podium in six of nine starts for the year. Zaferes finished the year ranked fifth in the world and is a constant on the race course, swimming with the leaders and maintaining a top position through the run. Zaferes has only finished outside of the top 10 at a World Triathlon Series race once since August 2014, most recently, winning her first series gold medal on July 16 in Hamburg, Germany. 


  • Consistently ranked No. 1 in the world as a result of historic seasons on the 2014 and 2015 ITU World Triathlon Series circuit, Gwen Jorgensen is the only athlete (male or female) from any nation to have finished the series with a perfect score of 5,200 points as part of an undefeated season, and the only woman to have captured seven consecutive WTS titles in one season. Jorgensen made her first Olympic appearance in 2012, finishing 38th due to a flat tire on the bike segment. Her spot on the 2016 U.S. Olympic Triathlon Team, earned at the ITU World Olympic Qualification Event on Aug. 2, 2015, gives her a chance at redemption. Also of note, the former collegiate swimmer, track and field, and cross-country athlete from the University of Wisconsin – Madison, was working full time as a CPA when 2004 Olympian Barb Lindquist invited her to join USA Triathlon’s Collegiate Recruitment Program, leading to her triathlon debut in 2010.
  • Sarah True has been an elite triathlete for the last decade, logging top-three world rankings in 2011, 2014 and 2015. True finished fourth at the London 2012 Olympic Games and qualified for the 2016 team with a fourth-place effort at the ITU World Olympic Qualification Event in Rio de Janeiro on Aug. 2, 2015. However, True is not the only talented member of her family. Sister Lauren Groff is an accomplished author with three novels that have been included on The New York Times best sellers list and have been selected as one of the Best Books of the year for 2008, 2012 and 2015. True’s husband, Ben, is an American track athlete specializing in the 5,000- and 10,000-meter distances and will be vying for a spot on the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Team in 2016.
  • Triathlon may not yet be an official NCAA Championship sport, but it is on its way as an NCAA Emerging Sport for Women, a designation given to the sport after receiving overwhelming support from Division I, II and III institutions at the 2014 NCAA Convention. Since that time, USA Triathlon has created a $2.4 million grant program to help schools create women’s triathlon programs at their institutions, and 12 schools are currently beginning to field teams and have a presence at the collegiate level. Though triathlon is just finding its footing in the NCAA space, collegiate athletics have long played a role in the success of triathlon Olympians. Five of the six members of the 2016 U.S. Olympic Triathlon Team competed as runners or swimmers (or both) in college, and Gwen Jorgensen and Katie Zaferes were recruited to the sport through the USA Triathlon Collegiate Recruitment Program by 2004 Olympic triathlete Barb Lindquist based on their collegiate athletic experiences.