COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — The USA Triathlon National Officials Program today announced the winners of the inaugural Commissioner of Officials Lifetime Achievement Award and the 2019 Official of the Year Award, recognizing two individuals who have made significant contributions to the profession of officiating and the sport of triathlon.
Honorees were selected by Deb Wilson, USA Triathlon Commissioner of Officials, and were recognized at a ceremony at IRONMAN Arizona in Tempe, Arizona, on Nov. 23. Both awards are being presented for the first time.
Commissioner of Officials Lifetime Achievement Award: Ed Cheatham (Corpus Christi, Texas)
Cheatham, a Category 1 USA Triathlon Official, started in the USA Triathlon Officials Program in 1999. He has served the sport of triathlon for two decades as a rules official for both USA Triathlon and IRONMAN. He was the North American IRONMAN Head Referee for the World Triathlon Corporation (WTC) until his retirement at the conclusion of IRONMAN Arizona last month.
Cheatham also received an honor from IRONMAN for his two decades of service as an official. He credits his success to his wife, Candy Cheatham, who not only stands beside him in life, but as a rules official for both USA Triathlon and IRONMAN.
“Ed is incredibly deserving of this honor, after a lifetime of service to officiating,” Wilson said. “He has set an example for officiating in our sport. He makes it look easy, but what we see today in Ed is the outcome of countless hours and years of dedication, study, practice and preparation. This award was presented in recognition of his lifetime of dedicated service to officiating and the sport of triathlon. May his personal example of leadership, competence and concern for the fairness of our sport serve as an inspiration to the triathlon community.”
“I am grateful to Commissioner of Officials Deb Wilson and USA Triathlon for this award,” Cheatham said. “It is very meaningful to me, as I believe in what we do. I am pleased to see the closer relationship between USA Triathlon and IRONMAN officials. I have for a long time felt that we should all work together, and now we are. During my career, one of my greatest joys was working with new officials starting their programs. At IRONMAN Arizona, I had two Category 5 USA Triathlon Officials under my tutelage. This was a first-time situation and one that filled me with pride. In a symbolic gesture, I completed one lap of the course with the pro field and then turned my moto over to the Category 5 official. I have much gratitude and respect for the many officials with whom I have worked over the years, and I am encouraged for the future of officiating under Commissioner Wilson.”
2019 Official of the Year: Mark Turner (Seabrook, Texas)
Turner, a Category 2 USA Triathlon Official, started in the USA Triathlon Officials Program in 2015. In 2019, he was named Regional Officials Coordinator (ROC) for the Lower South-Midwest Region and Rules Education Coordinator for the USA Triathlon Officials Program.
Turner is deeply involved in the sport of triathlon, serving as a rules official with both USA Triathlon and IRONMAN. In addition, he is an endurance sport coach with Team MPI and has coaching certifications with both USA Triathlon and IRONMAN. He has a passion for giving back to the sport through officiating and serving the paratriathlete community.
“Mark is an outstanding official, an advocate for fairness in our sport and the role officials play in our sport,” Wilson said. “We have been extremely fortunate to have Mark as part of our Officials Program. His contributions to our program and sport are immeasurable.”
“Obviously I was surprised and greatly honored to receive this award,” Turner said. “To be honored in this way by our Commissioner on the same day as my mentor and friend, Ed Cheatham, who was honored for his lifetime of service to our profession and sport, is an occasion I will always treasure. I am grateful for the opportunity that the Commissioner has given me to serve the sport.”
For more information about the USA Triathlon National Officials Program, or to learn about becoming a USA Triathlon-certified official, visit usatriathlon.org/officials.
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 events and connects with more than 400,000 members each year, making it the largest multisport organization in the world. In addition to its work at the grassroots level with athletes, coaches, and race directors — as well as the USA Triathlon Foundation — 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 & Paralympic Committee (USOPC).