It's Official: Reed Now a U.S. Citizen

Feb. 26, 2008, 12 a.m. (ET)
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Feb. 26 2008) — The process of becoming an American citizen is long, arduous, and often frustrating – kind of like training for a triathlon. Fortunately, Matt Reed is prepared for both.

Reed, who has his sights on making the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team that will compete in Beijing, China, this August, began his professional triathlon career in his native New Zealand nearly 15 years ago. But he switched his affiliation to the United States in 2004 and now lives and trains in Boulder, Colo. When asked why, he says, "I guess I felt wanted by America. It felt natural... I am proud to be from New Zealand and it will always be a part of me, but my life is here in the USA."

Reed’s life, which includes his wife and fellow triathlete, Kelly, son, Lachlan, and recently added daughter, Peyton, changed forever in 2007 when he became an American citizen. The long process of documentation, interviews, lawyers, and testing, culminated in a ceremony which made his citizenship official.

The globe-trotting triathlete began his now thriving career at an early age in New Zealand. His father and brother introduced him to sports as a youngster and he played cricket, soccer, rugby, and basketball (and at 6-foot-5 he was quite good, too). He swam and ran as well.

Reed moved to Australia at age nine, where he completed and won his first triathlon at 15 in Redcliff Queensland in the MILO Series. “I loved how it felt to swim, bike, and run all together,” Reed says. “I am not a one sport athlete turned to triathlon. I am a 17-years-in-the-making triathlete.”

His favorite part about the U.S.? “The American races have such a prestige. The famous ones like Alcatraz, Chicago, LA are what led me to America,” he says. “At first I loved super-sized meals and free refills. Now, I like how diverse America is, with so many different subcultures…each state is like a whole new country.”

However, now that Reed has joined the ranks of American triathletes, he races against his brother Shane, also a triathlete. Luckily, brotherly competition is not a problem for the pair. “My brother and I race as though we are not brothers,” says Reed. “We hope the other does well but want to kill each other on the course.”

Reed’s naturally competitive spirit served him well in 2007 as he finished the year as the top-ranked American male. He also turned in wins at St. Anthony’s and Boulder Peak as well as finishing fourth at Escape from Alcatraz and third at the London Triathlon.

What’s up for Reed in 2008? “Beijing. That is how I am approaching the season. Plain and simple,” he says. “Although I have yet to make the team, I am training as though I am on it.”

After four years of waiting, Reed is “four years stronger and four years wiser,” and undoubtedly up to the challenge. And now, as a U.S. citizen, Reed is ready to take the starting line with his fellow American teammates and newly adopted country behind him. With the Olympics approaching and competition building, Reed will need all the conviction and determination he can muster to make it to the top.

With his family and supporters behind him, Reed will be a tough man to beat in 2008. But his ambitions reach beyond just Beijing. Ultimately, he says, his goal is “to smile and enjoy what I do. To inspire others and use my position as a top athlete to help.

“It has taken me years in the sport to realize that we can have an input, whether big or small, we can make a change. Mate, I am living the American dream.”

By Kirsten Carlson, USA Triathlon Intern