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Blind Triathletes to Attend Three-Day Camp at U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Training Center

By USA Triathlon | Sept. 03, 2019, 4:15 p.m. (ET)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — USA Triathlon and the United States Association of Blind Athletes (USABA) are partnering for the second year in a row to co-host a paratriathlon camp in Colorado Springs dedicated to athletes with visual impairments. Ten triathletes and 10 guides from across the U.S. will travel to the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Training Center to participate in the three-day camp, set for Thursday, Sept. 5, through Saturday, Sept. 7. 

The camp will focus on the para-specific dynamics of swimming, biking and running, as well as other aspects of triathlon performance such as basic nutrition, transitions and goal setting. Coaches will include Wes Johnson (Sandy, Utah), USA Triathlon Level II certified coach and founder of Balanced Art Multisport (BAM); Andrew Stasinos (Taylorsville, Utah), USA Triathlon Level II certified coach and senior coach at BAM; and Amanda Leibovitz (Bellingham, Wash.), USA Triathlon Level I certified coach, Team MPI coach and tandem pilot with USABA.

Visual impairment is one of six paratriathlon categories recognized by the International Paralympic Committee and includes athletes who are totally blind and athletes who are partially sighted but legally blind. Triathletes with visual impairments compete alongside a sighted guide. During the swim, the guide and athlete are tethered together — usually at the thigh or hip. The athlete then rides behind his or her guide, or pilot, on a tandem bike before finishing the race on foot with a tether connecting athlete and guide.

The following athletes, among others, will be available for media interviews:

John Chan (Staten Island, N.Y.) got started in triathlon in 2014, coming to the sport from an extensive marathon background. He won the men’s PTVI division at the 2018 USA Paratriathlon National Championships in Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin. After that performance, he was named to the 2018-19 Toyota U.S. Paratriathlon Development Team. Chan is primarily focused on sprint- and Olympic-distance triathlons, but he is targeting his first long-course (IRONMAN 70.3) race this fall and hopes to complete an ultra-distance (IRONMAN) triathlon within the next two years.

Eva Hangartner (New York, N.Y.) was raised in Manhattan and attended the prestigious Bronx High School of Science. She participated on her high school track & field and swim teams, captaining both teams as a senior. Hangartner is now pursuing her undergraduate degree in history at Stanford University, where she joined the club triathlon team and started competing with a sighted guide for the first time. She is fluent in Arabic and German, and she plans to work in the field of refugee support and advocacy.

Brock Kitterman (Bethel Park, Pa.) has completed more than 60 triathlons at just 14 years old. Kitterman trains with Team Triumph, an adaptive triathlon team with 21 chapters across the country. He does most of his swim training with the Hunting Ridge Stingrays based in Bridgeville, Pennsylvania, and plays ice hockey with the Pittsburgh Penguins Blind Hockey Club. Kitterman earned his first national title at the USA Triathlon Youth & Junior National Championships on Aug. 4, winning the boys’ paratriathlon division. 

MEDIA OPPORTUNITIES: Media representatives are invited to capture coverage of the camp and/or conduct interviews with participants to help raise awareness about the sporting opportunities available to individuals who are blind and visually impaired, and how these athletes’ lives are being positively impacted through sport.

A tentative list of opportunities is outlined below. Training sessions may be altered depending on weather and scheduling. Please contact Caryn Maconi (USA Triathlon) or Bill Kellick (USABA) if you would like to attend any of the training sessions.

Thursday, Sept. 5:
9-11 a.m. Track Workout — Washburn Field, Colorado College
11 a.m.-12 p.m. Strength Session — U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Training Center, Ted Stevens Sport Services Center
1-3 p.m. Swim Session — U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Training Center, Aquatics Center
3-5 p.m. Bike Skills Session — Memorial Park

Friday, Sept. 6:
8-10 a.m. Bike Session — Gold Camp Road
1-3 p.m. Swim Session — U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Training Center, Aquatics Center

Saturday, Sept. 7:
8-11 a.m. Bike/Run Session (Brick Workout) and Transition Skills — Roads TBD
3-5 p.m. Swim Session — U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Training Center, Aquatics Center

*A completed media request form is required for any filming or photography that takes place on the U.S. Olympic Training Center campus. Please contact Caryn Maconi (USA Triathlon) or Bill Kellick (USABA) at least 48 hours before you would like to attend a session on campus.

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).

About U.S. Association of Blind Athletes
Since its founding in 1976, USABA, a community-based organization of the United States Olympic Committee, has reached more than 100,000 blind individuals. The organization has emerged as more than just a world-class trainer of blind athletes, it has become a champion of the abilities of Americans who are legally blind. USABA’s mission: to empower Americans who are blind and visually impaired to experience life-changing opportunities in sports, recreation and physical activities, thereby educating and inspiring the nation. | Twitter: @USABA | Facebook: United States Association of Blind Athletes

Media Contacts:
USA Triathlon
Caryn Maconi

Bill Kellick