COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — USA Triathlon and the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee today announced that Dr. Tekemia Dorsey, Founder and CEO of the International Association of Black Triathletes, is the recipient of the USOPC’s 2020 Rings of Gold Award.
The Rings of Gold Awards, presented annually since 1996, recognize both an individual and a program dedicated to helping children develop their Olympic or Paralympic dreams and reach their highest athletic and personal potential. The individual honor recognizes someone who has dedicated his or her life to helping young people achieve their highest athletic potential, while also assisting them in setting goals and establishing the mechanisms needed to achieve personal success on and off the field of play. Dr. Dorsey was honored as an individual, while the George Pocock Rowing Foundation’s Erg Ed program received the program award.
Dr. Dorsey founded the Middle River, Maryland-based International Association of Black Triathletes in 2012. The nonprofit organization provides advancement for urban youth, and the communities they represent, by positioning triathlon as a gateway to reduce academic and health disparities and to increase opportunities for collegiate studies, internships and economic development.
Dr. Dorsey has introduced hundreds of youth to triathlon through IABT, while also elevating their educational and career opportunities through unique multisport-related programs and activities. An author, advocate, coach and member of the USA Triathlon Board of Directors, Dr. Dorsey guides her athletes in achieving goals on and off the triathlon course through the IABT Multisport Racing team, the IABT Junior Triathlon Club and the Sports Academy for Urban Youth — all of which she founded to expand opportunities for urban youth and their communities.
She is the first individual from Maryland to receive the USOPC’s Rings of Gold Award, and the fourth African American female to do so.
“Dr. Dorsey has long been a trailblazer in the world of multisport, and we are thrilled to see her contributions now recognized by the wider U.S. Olympic and Paralympic family,” said Rocky Harris, USA Triathlon CEO. “Dr. Dorsey’s work with IABT is so impactful because it has created increased opportunities and access for African-American and urban youth not only to participate in multisport, but also to advance their leadership skills and build academic and professional experience. Young athletes who come into contact with IABT are equipped with the tools to succeed both within and outside of sport — all while joining a positive, supportive and enduring community.”
"I am humbled, excited and elated to have been nominated by USA Triathlon and selected by the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee as their 2020 Rings of Gold – Individual Award Winner,” Dr. Dorsey said. “I am even more excited to be the first to represent the great state of Maryland as an honoree. To the young Black and Brown girls and boys across the globe in the triathlon sport or those who have yet to enter the sport, there is so much untapped potential awaiting your unveiling. Never would I have ever imagined as a little Brown girl growing up in West Baltimore, Maryland, that my name one day would be synonymous with Olympic and Paralympic medalists and coaches. It just goes to show you that hard work does pay off.
“To my own triathletes, BJ, Heaven and Halee, thank you for showing me how the sport can truly transform a youth life and for pushing me to be a better mom, coach, leader and advocate for urban youth in the sport. Let's continue to go for the gold together."
Dr. Dorsey was elected in 2019 as the first African American woman to serve on the USA Triathlon Board of Directors. She is also a USA Triathlon Level I and Youth & Junior-certified coach, Youth & Junior Elite coach, USA Triathlon-certified race director, member of the USA Triathlon Race Director Committee and member of USA Triathlon’s Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Access Advisory Council.
This year, she authored two books related to her work with IABT. “A Deep Dive: An Urban Multisport Impact” outlines her process of connecting and growing triathlon for urban youth in the Baltimore area in an effort to provide a blueprint for similar programs across the nation. “Empowering TRIathletes to LEAD” explores ways in which multisport can help break the cycle of poverty in urban communities.
Dr. Dorsey will be honored during the 2020 U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Assembly, an annual meeting of the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic community, which will take place as a virtual event from Oct. 8-9. To learn more about the USOPC’s Rings of Gold Award and for a list of all past recipients, visit teamusa.org. To read the complete press release from the USOPC announcing all 2020 U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Assembly Award winners, click here.
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).