Beginning in 1985, USA Triathlon, the National Federation for the sport of triathlon, recognized that competitive fairness required trained officials and embarked upon a program of recruiting and training volunteers to serve as triathlon officials. The sport grew rapidly in the late 1980s and the NF added an “Officials Coordinator” to the small staff in 1990. A national recruitment program followed and regional coordinators were appointed to assign and train new officials for the implementation of the Competitive Rules. The rapid growth of the sport was not without problems, and reorganization occurred at the end of 1993. The first Commissioner of Officials, a volunteer position, was appointed in 1994. The Commissioner became a full time staff position in 1997 and was tasked to develop and maintain a National Officials Program for USA Triathlon sanctioned events.

As the sport of triathlon continued to grow throughout the world, Draft-legal events became the international norm. However, until recently, Draft-legal racing within the United States had not gained in strength and popularity. Formally established in 2015, the USA Triathlon National Technical Officials Program was developed in an effort to unify officiating for all Draft-legal triathlon, duathlon, aquathlon and other multi-sport events within the United States into a single Technical Officials Program, which is a part of the National Officials Program. Currently, there are two tracks of the National Officials Program (Program): Competitive Rules Officials (CRO Program) and National Technical Officials (NTO Program). This manual was developed to discuss the applicable policies of the latter, as well as the established protocol, race preparation and expectations of every NTO.

Expectations of Competency and Behavior

2015 marked the 30th Anniversary of the National Officials Program. During those three decades officials have seen a number of changes to the Competitive Rules and to the general policies and procedures of the Program. One constant that has remained throughout all the growth and changes in the Program is the National Federation’s dedication to assigning officials to events who have the highest level of training, knowledge, and judgment to represent USA Triathlon. Event Organizers and competitors fully expect our officials know the rules of competition and to always behave in a professional manner in the administration of those rules. That is not an easy task. While we have received overall high marks on our performance from Event Organizers and athletes, we must acknowledge our mistakes and make every effort to reduce and eliminate them.

There are three basic expectations for officials in the Program:

  • Knowledge and understanding of the rules.
  • Knowledge and compliance with the policies and procedures stated in the manuals.
  • Professional behavior. In practice, all three are integral to what makes a good official.

Accordingly all officials will be held accountable to meet or exceed these basic expectations.