USA Triathlon

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FAQ: Team USA Overview

What is Team USA?

Team USA was created in 1989 by USA Triathlon at the request of the International Triathlon Union (ITU), which was starting the first World Championship at the Olympic-distance in Avignon, France. Team USA is the group of age-group athletes that qualify for the right to represent the United States and compete in the ITU World Championships, which attracts the best athletes representing over 50 countries each year. 

  • Short Course (Olympic) triathlon *(1.5K swim, 40K bike, 10K run)
  • Long Course Triathlon *(4k swim, 112k bike, 30k run)
  • Sprint Triathlon *(750m swim, 20k bike, 5k run)
  • Standard Duathlon *(10K run, 40K bike, 5K run)
  • Sprint Duathlon *(5K run, 20K bike, 2.5K run)
  • Long-Distance Duathlon *(10k run, 150k bike, 30k run)
  • Middle-Distance Duathlon *(10k run, 60k bike, 10k run)
  • Aquathlon *(1000m swim, and 5K run)
  • Cross (Off-Road) Triathlon (distances based on the location- disciplines: swim, mountain bike, trail run)
  • Winter triathlon (distances based on the location - disciplines: trail run, mountain bike, cross country ski)

*Distances are subject to change depending on location and course availability

Who can Qualify?

All members of Team USA must be current USA Triathlon annual members on the day they plan to qualify. Aged-up results are used to determine qualification and roll down eligibility. All athletes eligible to represent the United States must be at least 16 years old (sprint distance) or 18 years old (standard distance or longer) as of December 31st of the year of the World Championship AND 

  • Be a U.S. citizen

  • OR
  • Be a U.S. national – someone who has resided in the US for three consecutive years and has not competed for their country of citizenship in the prior year*

*Athletes who choose to be recognized as nationals who have competed for their country of citizenship in the last year may get dispensation by obtaining a letter from the NGB of their home country allowing competition as a U.S. athlete.

What is the age-up rule?

Whatever your age is as of December 31, during the year in which you want to compete for Team USA will be the age-group used to determine your Team USA qualification status

If an athlete "ages up" into another age group for the year of the World Championship, a separate set of results will be issued accounting for those athletes who aged up and Team USA slots will be awarded based on these results. Therefore, their finish time will be compared to those athletes in the older age group.

For example, if John Doe is going to be 49 years old by Dec. 31, 2019, he will age-up up into the 50-54 age group for the 2020 World Championships since he will be 50 years old by Dec. 31, 2020. Thus, for Team USA qualifying purposes, his time at the qualification event will be compared to the men currently in the 50-54 age group.

We will post the age-up results at the awards ceremony of Toyota Age Group Nationals. At other national championships, age-up results will not be posted, and athletes will claim their spot through email within 2-3 weeks post-event.

How does an individual qualify?

For information about qualifications, please view the qualification page here. And view event pages for event specific qualification information.

If I qualified for Team USA This year, do I automatically have a slot on Team USA next year?

No, you do not automatically qualify for Team USA next year. However, if you were on Team USA this year, you do automatically qualify for nationals in the next year.

On the other hand, if you podium in your age group at a World Championship race, you automatically qualify for that same race the following year. For example, if you win your age group at 2019 Long Course Triathlon World Championships, you automatically qualify for 2020 Long Course Triathlon World Championships.

How many athletes are on Team USA?

Between 18 and 20 athletes per age group per gender, depending on the event. Age groups are fielded in five-year increments from 18-19, 20-24, etc up to 90+ years of age.

How long is an athlete eligible for Team USA once they are on the team?

Athletes are current Team USA members up through the completion of the world championship event at which they qualified for and in which they competed.

How is Team USA funded?

Team USA is funded through the remaining registration funds and national sponsors.