COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – USA Triathlon Chief Executive Officer Rocky Harris’ contract has been extended through 2028, the USA Triathlon Board of Directors announced today.
Harris, who began his tenure with USA Triathlon in September 2017, will guide USA Triathlon through its 2021-2028 Strategic Plan, Elevate 2028, which is a robust set of guiding principles, goals and strategies designed to enable USA Triathlon to grow participation, provide unmatched support to the multisport community, and reach vast new audiences culminating at the Olympic and Paralympic Games Los Angeles 2028.
“The next seven years, culminating with LA 2028, are vital to our sport and we are fortunate to have Rocky committed to leading the way,” says Joel Rosinbum, Chair of the USA Triathlon Board of Directors. “Throughout his four-plus years at the helm he has shown an unwavering dedication to supporting and growing our sport, and the results of his vision for the sport’s continued upward trajectory have been clear in our country’s recent success on the world stage, the industry’s return to racing through the COVID-19 pandemic, and the emphasis placed on local race directors, coaches, clubs, officials and age-group athletes. The future of our sport is in good hands.”
Harris’ tenure has focused on increasing the value USA Triathlon provides its constituents, building on success in international competitions, and developing collaborative partnerships to help grow the sport. The sport saw significant growth in 2019 after nearly a decade of declines, with increases in participants, members, officials, coaches, sanctioned races and certified clubs. Harris has also prioritized attracting non-endemic corporate partners and philanthropic donors to the sport, and the organization has more than doubled its corporate sponsorship support and funds raised through the USA Triathlon Foundation.
“I feel fortunate to be able to continue to support and impact a sport that empowers people to pursue their personal goals and helps strengthen communities by encouraging an active and healthy lifestyle,” says Harris. “The organization’s successes are a direct result of the talented and dedicated staff at USA Triathlon and the guidance and prowess of our Board of Directors, and the sports’ successes are a direct result of the innovative, passionate and committed multisport community. I look forward to being part of our wonderful community and serving our sport’s stakeholders for years to come.”
Harris spearheaded the creation of USA Triathlon’s Safe Return to Multisport Initiative in response to the COVID-19 pandemic to help race directors, coaches, clubs and athletes safely return to racing and training. The initiative also included the Race Local. Compete Nationally. campaign to support race directors through payment relief and flexibility, promotional support, resources and a COVID-19 Safety Certification.
USA Triathlon under Harris has been committed to empowering, educating and engaging the multisport community to drive actionable change both across the sport and in their respective local communities in the diversity, equity, inclusion and access (DEIA) space, and has been recognized for its efforts four times by the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee (USOPC) with three DEI Choice Awards and one Advancing DEI Award.
The U.S. put together a record-setting 2021 in international competition spanning the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games and World Triathlon Championship Series (WTCS) events, including leading all countries with seven combined Olympic and Paralympic triathlon medals in Tokyo (three gold, three silver, one bronze) and winning the Paralympic triathlon medal count with five. In World Triathlon competition, the U.S. in 2021 became the first country to finish a WTCS with five women and three men in the top 12 of their respective overall rankings and led all countries with 12 total medals across the two 2021 World Triathlon Para Series events.
Throughout his tenure, Harris has been committed to supporting athletes at all skill and experience levels and empowering them to be successful both in the sport and beyond. He developed and implemented the Transition 3 elite athlete, career, education and wellness program. In late 2017, USA Triathlon launched Project Podium, which develops top young male USA Triathlon Elite athletes with the goal of helping them achieve medal performances in the Olympic Games while allowing them to get an education from Arizona State University. In April 2018, USA Triathlon initiated the Paratriathlon Resident Team to provide a full-time daily training environment for elite paratriathletes at the US Olympic & Paralympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. Through the Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Engagement Program, USA Triathlon provided a grant to Hampton University in 2018 to enable them to become the first historically black university to add a women’s varsity triathlon program.
Harris has been steadfast in his dedication to helping grow the sport around the world, using the United States’ resources to support other countries and federations within World Triathlon, and listening to the needs of the global community. The United States currently has eight members serving in roles across World Triathlon Executive Board, Committees and Tribunal — the most of any nation, and leads all countries with six committee members and five females in leadership positions.
Under Harris’ leadership, USA Triathlon was recognized as one of the Best Places to Work by Outside Magazine (2020 and 2021), the Best Employer in Sports by Front Office Sports (2020) and Best Workplaces by the Colorado Springs Gazette (2019).
Harris serves on the USOPC Para Advisory Council, the USOPC SafeSport Funding Task Force, the COVID-19 Task Force, and is Chair of the Association of Chief Executives for Sport (ACES).