After an exciting 2009 debut in which Alistair Brownlee and Emma Moffat emerged as superstars and great races televised around the globe boosted the sport of triathlon, the International Triathlon Union’s 7-race Dextro Energy World Championship Series has shaken up their 2010 schedule.
The good news is that they have added the fabulous 2000 Olympic Triathlon course at Sydney as the season opener on April 11. The sad news is that the spectacular Washington D.C. venue and the great fields and great races it produced against its iconic monuments as a backdrop will not be back on the 2010 schedule. The curiously bleak news on top of that is that the fledgling series will have no races in the United States, Canada and Mexico, or in the still-emerging triathlon power Brazil.
That’s right. The World Championship Series will have five races in Europe, one in Asia, and one in Oceania – and none in North America, the birthplace of the sport, the worldwide leader in age group participation and a major player in worldwide sponsorship dollars. And zip in South America, where the International Olympic Committee just committed to hold the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
But before pointing fingers and pinning blame, realize that no one in the game is at all happy about this state of affairs, least of all the ITU. If anything is the cause it is a more ambitious, bigger budget business model for the World Championship Series races. These races, in many cases, depend upon government subsidies in European and Asian countries which find the costs worth it to showcase their cities with triathlon as the backdrop. In the US, and apparently in Canada, costs for television production, municipal support for event road closures and safety officials, and even the relatively modest prize purse has currently raised the bar too high – at least for the coming year - for non government-supported promoters in the Americas.
“We all thought Washington DC was a wonderful venue and it was a very well-done, fantastic spectacle for the sport,” said Paul Coleman, Managing Director of the Dextro Energy Triathlon – ITU World Championship Series. “We loved it and both the ITU and the organizers in Washington are both keen to be part of the series going forward after 2010. The immediate problem is that Washington D.C. is a very expensive city in which to organize and to put on an event. Putting on that first race there was a big investment on our part, our partners, and for the city and the organizers. But because of the costs, we decided that we should all take a breather and see where we stand in 2011.”
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It is sad that DC/USA/Canada was snubbed by ITU. I'm surprised that they didn't move it to Vancouver or somewhere else in Canada. But, ITU has always been rooted in Europe. And the majority of the board is in Europe. They have the largest fan base there. Hamburg Triathlon has about 200,000 spectators for the weekend of racing amateurs and elites! $$$
Bummer! I watched part of last year's women's race in person, and both the men's and women's races on Universal Sports. I was thinking about signing up for the amateur Olympic-distance race next year, but it looks like I won't have that option.
Wouldn't the ITU want to expand their fan base into the U.S.? Though ITU racing probably wouldn't approach the level of even hockey or soccer here, there's still a lot of money to be made in the U.S. They could use the ITU DC race as a loss leader, to draw in American viewers until the ITU started turning a profit from U.S. races.
I guess the DC race is a casualty of the still-soft worldwide economy. Hopefully they'll be back in 2011. Or maybe Mayor Fenty can do a hard sell and persuade them to come back after all.
And that, if you recall, is why when folks asked "Should I sign up for this?" we said Do It. Hindsight is 20/20, but these opportunities are rare - even rarer than we thought - that is, Unique. Not only were you the first to race it last year, you were probably the last as well, or at least for a while. Glad so many in DC Tri went out to support the race as participants and volunteers. Swim the Potomac in June? We did it.
I wasn't a member of DC Tri Club at the time. Signing up for the June race wasn't an option for me either. I had only begun tri training last fall. And because of money issues, I didn't have a bike at that point. So I wasn't prepared to finish an Olympic-distance triathlon in June, from a fitness standpoint and equipment standpoint (unless I rented a bike). I really would have liked to raced in June but I wasn't ready for the distance.
(I continued training and finished the Nation's Tri in Sept. I signed up with the DC Tri Club a couple weeks later.)
Right and sorry. My post was referring to a good discussion that some had at the time - doing the race with cost and swimming the Potomac factors. Just continuing to argue my stance (for fun of course).
Sounds like you made the right decision. If you just started tri training, and don't have a bike, I wouldn't recommend signing up for a triathlon. Usually, to do a triathlon, you need to use a bike. Excellent decision, congrats on your Nations finish, and welcome to the club.