COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — USA Triathlon today announced its 2016 Elite Triathletes of the Year, a star-studded list that includes Olympic, Paralympic and world champions. Selections were determined by the USA Triathlon Athlete Advisory Council.
Gwen Jorgensen (St. Paul, Minn.), who won the first-ever gold medal for the United States in triathlon at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, was named the Women’s Olympic/ITU Triathlete of the Year. Jorgensen earned five ITU World Triathlon Series podiums in 2016, including two WTS wins in Leeds, England, and Yokohama, Japan, and a second-place finish at the ITU World Triathlon Grand Final in Cozumel, Mexico. Jorgensen also helped Team USA race to the United States’ first world title at the ITU Triathlon Mixed Relay World Championships in Hamburg, Germany, with teammates Ben Kanute, Kirsten Kasper and Joe Maloy.
“I hope that my accomplishments inspire the next generation of triathletes to achieve more than I have,” Jorgensen said.
Maloy (Wildwood Crest, N.J.), also a 2016 Olympian, was named Men’s Olympic/ITU Triathlete of the Year. Maloy placed 23rd in the men’s triathlon at the Rio 2016 Games, finishing as the top American. He was a part of the gold-medal-winning U.S. team at the ITU Triathlon Mixed Relay World Championships and earned a sixth-place finish at an ITU World Triathlon Series stop in Gold Coast, Australia.
The Elite Non-Drafting Triathlete of the Year titles were awarded to Ben Hoffman (Boulder, Colo.), Heather Jackson (Bend, Ore.) and Alicia Kaye (Clermont, Fla.) Hoffman’s 2016 highlights included a win at IRONMAN South Africa, a fourth-place finish at the IRONMAN World Championship in Kona, Hawaii, and a second-place finish at IRONMAN 70.3 Buenos Aires.
“I am honored to receive this award and represent my country while racing at the highest level,” Hoffman said. “A big thanks goes to all my family, friends, sponsors and fans.”
Jackson had a stellar 2016, earning a spot on the podium with a third-place finish at the IRONMAN World Championship. Jackson set a new course record of 9 hours, 9 minutes, 42 seconds at IRONMAN Lake Placid en route to the overall win. In addition, she earned overall victories at IRONMAN 70.3 Chattanooga and IRONMAN 70.3 Couer d’Alene.
Kaye, who is earning Non-Drafting Triathlete of the Year honors for the fourth straight year, finished eighth as the top American at the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship in Queensland, Australia. She was also second at the St. Anthony’s Triathlon in St. Petersburg, Florida, and third at IRONMAN Lake Placid.
The Elite Paratriathletes of the Year, Grace Norman (Jamestown, Ohio) and Mark Barr (Houston, Texas), both had standout performances in paratriathlon’s debut at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. Barr placed fourth in the men’s PT2 division in Rio, finishing less than 20 seconds off the podium. Norman won the first gold medal for the U.S. in triathlon at the Paralympic Games, winning the women’s PT4 division with over a minute’s gap on her closest competitor.
“I am very excited to receive this honor,” Norman said. “It is a nice way to close the season of 2016 and all of the hard work that went into my performances.”
Taylor Knibb (Washington, D.C.) and Tim Winslow (Elk Grove, Calif.) were named Rookies of the Year for their outstanding debut seasons at the elite level. Knibb was the women’s winner at the ITU Junior World Championships and placed third at the Montreal ITU Triathlon World Cup. She also earned CAMTRI Sprint Triathlon American Cup wins in Clermont, Florida, and Richmond, Virginia. Winslow’s 2016 season included a third-place finish at the Des Moines Triathlon in Iowa, a fourth-place finish at the Pacific Grove Triathlon in California, and a top-10 at REV3 Quassy in Middlebury, Connecticut.
Under-23 Triathlete of the Year honors went to Eli Hemming (Kiowa, Colo.) and Katie Gorczyca (Las Vegas, Nev.). Hemming won both the USA Triathlon Elite Sprint National Championships and U23 National Championships in New Orleans. He also placed 13th at the ITU U23 World Championships. Gorczyca won the Bridgetown CAMTRI Sprint Triathlon American Cup in Bridgetown, Barbados, and placed 15th as the top American at the ITU U23 World Championships. She was also the individual runner-up at the Women’s Collegiate National Championship in New Orleans, helping Arizona State University to its first team title.
Josiah Middaugh (Vail, Colo.) and Suzie Snyder (Reno, Nev.) earned Elite Off-Road Triathlete of the Year honors. Middaugh earned the XTERRA Pan American Tour title and was the top overall finisher at the Pan American Championship in Ogden, Utah. He was also the runner-up at the ITU Cross Triathlon World Championships in Snowy Mountains, Australia. Snyder’s 2016 highlights include the overall Pan Am Tour title, a win at the XTERRA Pan American Championship, a third-place finish at the XTERRA World Championship in Kapalua, Hawaii, and a third-place finish at the ITU Cross Triathlon World Championships.
The 2016 USA Triathlon Elite Triathlete of the Year selections are as follows:
Men’s Olympic/ITU Triathlete of the Year: Joe Maloy (Wildwood Crest, N.J.)
Women’s Olympic/ITU Triathlete of the Year: Gwen Jorgensen (St. Paul, Minn.)
Men’s Elite Non-Drafting Triathlete of the Year: Ben Hoffman (Boulder, Colo.)
Women’s Elite Non-Drafting Triathletes of the Year: Heather Jackson (Bend, Ore.) and Alicia Kaye (Clermont, Fla.)
Men’s Elite Paratriathlete of the Year: Mark Barr (Houston, Texas)
Women’s Elite Paratriathlete of the Year: Grace Norman (Jamestown, Ohio)
Men’s Rookie of the Year: Tim Winslow (Elk Grove, Calif.)
Women’s Rookie of the Year: Taylor Knibb (Washington, D.C.)
Men’s U23 Triathlete of the Year: Eli Hemming (Kiowa, Colo.)
Women’s U23 Triathlete of the Year: Katie Gorczyca (Las Vegas, Nev.)
Men’s Elite Off-Road Triathlete of the Year: Josiah Middaugh (Vail, Colo.)
Women’s Elite Off-Road Triathlete of the Year: Suzie Snyder (Reno, Nev.)
About USA Triathlon
USA Triathlon is proud to serve as the National Governing Body for triathlon, as well as duathlon, aquathlon, aquabike, winter triathlon, off-road triathlon and paratriathlon in the United States. Founded in 1982, USA Triathlon sanctions more than 4,300 races and connects with nearly 500,000 members each year, making it the largest multisport organization in the world. In addition to its work with athletes, coaches, and race directors on the grassroots level, USA Triathlon provides leadership and support to elite athletes competing at international events, including International Triathlon Union (ITU) World Championships, Pan American Games and the Olympic and Paralympic Games. USA Triathlon is a proud member of the ITU and the United States Olympic Committee (USOC).