Is drafting in our future ? ITU AGM Dance Partners

Well, I've covered the BTA AGM elections and resolutions in some detail here, but what better to do on a Saturday evening that to read the ITU Congress nominations and resolutions document, pointed to under the ever-so helpful picture of  Dr Sarah Springman and the PM's wife on the BTA website. I’m grateful to the BTA for this link that I’d have otherwise probably missed.

To save you looking for the link on the BTA website, you can find the ITU document here.

The only truly scary resolution is Resolution-13: from the Brazilian Federation that seeks to rule that all future Age Group World Chanpionships must be draft legal.

I’ve faxed Peter Coulson and asked him how the BTA plans to vote on this resolution. It’s my view that this is more important to age group triathletes than who Peter supports for President, but not even the slightest mention of this in Tri News. Shame I hadn’t read these before I met Peter today at the race organisers meeting. More on this later.

Britain has submitted a resolution requiring the ITU to work to make Athlete with Disabilities (AWAD) Triathlon a formal Paralympic sport and part of the Paralympic Movement.  It’s a bit rich to say the least coming from the BTA.

I competed in the Edmonton 2000 ITU World Championships, I was totally inspired by the AWAD athletes who started just before me. After I’d raced, I personally tracked down and took-up the lack of BTA action and support for AWAD sport up with Norman Brook, who was in attendance at Edmonton. Norman gave me his usual smooth tongue brogue and promised something would be done. Four years later and the BTA have put precisely NOTHING in place.

Today at the BTA Race Organisers conference, I raised this issue during the Q&A with Peter Coulson, only to get cut off by the same Norman Brook. They made no reference to this resolution but started to make excuses about why it wasn’t a simple issue…

Since my former clubmate Paula Craig has been nominated for the ITU Athletes with a Disability Commission, according to the BTA website, I’m glad to see the BTA doing something, and they couldn’t have picked a better, more enthusiastic person to nominate. Although, it has to be said there is no mention of this nomination or commission in the ITU Agenda/Resolutions document.

Meanwhile, back to making hayThe ITU Congress document makes some interesting reading, and assuming you know some of the background, even more interesting.

First, up, nominations. For the important "table" positions its basically a straight run - the Les camp vs  the non-Les camp, one standing in each position, One of the more interesting ones if the vote-out between Bill Walker from Australia and Mark Sisson from the USA.

Mark Sisson "has been Les McDonald's right-hand-man from the beginning"; and following a number of issues left the ITU family for the last few years. His home Nation, USA Triathlon had view and you can read one view of this here. Since the USA has different libel laws from the UK, I'll let them say that.

Then there was this article, posted on the Inside Triathlon web site, from an original article published by Tri Digest, written by Katherine Cassidy, then Katherine Williams. It reports that Sissons position, then ITU General Secretary, was untenable or at least so claimed the Olympic anti-doping team.

Getting complicated isn't it ? Well just in case you think this is all new, it isn't. Mark has been helping  the ITU since 1995, as discussed in this article. My, my, what a complex web. What you learn by reading these is that at least for a period of time, Bill Walker and Mark Sisson were working hand in hand as part of the triumvirate running the ITU.

Now Mark and Bill are standing for the same position on the ITU Executive Board, Secretary General.  Word as I heard it, is Mark, a one-time potential successor to Les McDonald, has decided now is a good time for a come back, and has decided to throw his hat in with the "time for a change candidates".

What makes this more interesting, and you'll have stick with me on this, at the same time all this was going on, Mark for the ITU was trying to build bridges(or was that burn them?) between the ITU and USAT. Why might that be ?

Well, The ITU have a World Cup race at Cornerbrook in Canada, home country of the ITU and President Les McDonald. For one reason or another someone in the USA decided to stage the Lifetime Fitness Triathlon in Minneapolis, Minnesota. This race was sanctioned by USAT and has become known as the "Battle of the Sexes"and  is run on the same day as the ITU World Cup race at Cornerbrook. The Lifetime race has big ticket title sponsors and tends to attract the big money competitors, while the ITU Cornerbrook race doesn't.

You can see here that despite what you'd think, the ITU in the form of one Mark Sission, wrote to USAT to offer an olive branch to avoid bad feeling over this. So thats alright then. Until you learn that it was one Steve Locke from USAT who wanted to block Sissons’ nomination that I started this First up discussing.. It might be no coincidence that Steve lost the Presidential election to Les, or then again it might. You think its getting complicated, well when you find that at this election Steve Locke is standing this time around for the position of Treasurer of the ITU. You can read an details on the prior issues from a Slowtwitch summary here.

My head hurts too. Now, it might be that these erstwhile giants of triathlon organisation can put all this behind them for the good of the sport and get on with getting the house in order. Well apparently not.

Someone at least bears a grudge. How so ? "Where as" Resolution-1 before the ITU AGM seeks to force USA Triathlon to stop sanctioning the Lifetime Fitness Triathlon in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on the grounds "Where as" the event is discriminatory and sexist.  So, no bad blood here then.

Which just makes me wonder even more what Peter Coulson BTA Chairman and Dr Sarah Springman, ITU Presidential nominee, think they are taking on, and especially if as I hear it, that Mark Sisson is on “their side”. It just confirms my suspicion all along that this hornets nest should just be left to itself and the BTA would be better focussing on domestic issues.  Vote in the BTA AGM to let them know what you think, I’ll be voting Jasmine Flatters.

The British Federation also submitted resolutions, 22/23 which really ought to be entitled “Maws master plan” or  the “Horse and barn door for triathletes”. Read for yourself and decide what this is all about.

One final resolution worth a mention is Resolution-11. We can all remember that great picture of Leanda Cave from Cancun as the World Champion with the flag held high. Well, it turns out in this PC world someone thinks this show of chauvinism, and denigration of their flag, produces a negative affect on other nations, spectators of other nations and television viewers of other nations, and so it  shouldn't be allowed in future. Well, all very PC.

There are some other interesting resolutions, but I’ve gone on more than enough already.  VOTE EARLY, VOTE OFTEN

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BTA AGM
(Anonymous)
Mark (Cathcart) that is...needs to get a life. Or if he can't find one then he either needs to act and write responsibly or join the BTA and be the big boss that he really wants to be !!!
Re: BTA AGM
Do you not have any constructive comments, denials, corrections that you want to add ? Mark is a member of the BTA as you'd know if you'd got the AGM papers...
Mark has a life!
(Anonymous)
Mark represents the sentiments of the vast majority of people both inside the BTA membership, and those of us who already gave up on them. The BTA is growing ever more distant and unaccountable from the membership it represents (age group racers) and drastic change is required before a split in the sport rears it's ugly head.
Foz
Nobody said it would be easy Mark
(Anonymous)
Hi Mark

This kind of stuff was a thread on the e group a long time back. In the last 15 odd years I have been in the sport its only got worse. Considering we are a tin pot sport for the ABC1's we have a more complex political problem than the middle east!

It would be great of Sara Springman gets in as she has been an athlete. (it amazes me how many of our politico's in the sport have never done a triathlon!) and she understands the needs of the athletes. But at the end of the day the ITU is a corporate machine and money is the fuel.

Nathan
Re: Nobody said it would be easy Mark
Thanks Nathan. I guess I don't really have any objections to Sarah, especially now she has at least put together her "agenda" and view of where triathlon should go.

I met her a few times since the Commonwealth Games. My real beef was given the problems we face in the BTA, well documented here and elsewhere, I really felt they should be focusing on the domestic scene and hence the age group and development programs much more. There is no doubt that Peter Coulson has worked hard for the BTA, especially since he is unpaid, I just don't think the focus has been right and have been telling Peter this at every opportunity. Hence positions taken here.