Triathlon America Conference

So next weekend the first ever Triathlon America conference is taking place in Encinitas, California. Triathlon America is shaping up to be a powerful force in US Triathlon. Principally, Triathlon America is an organization of the business side of triathlon, race organizers, race series, event production, and the backroom services for race registration results and more.

However, as per my Triathlon America Unzipped entry  I think there are considerable risks with the rise of such a powerful organization, that really isn't accountable to it's primary stake holders, the age group athletes. It's not clear that their definition of success would be success for us. More races is great, spending more on the same races probably isn't since that would see a price rise. More sponsors is great, providing it doesn't cause juvenile herding of athletes at races, for example more races require check-in the day before, racking and registration the day before, to get sponsors more athlete "face time".

So, it will be interesting to be able to play fly on the wall. I'll be attending the full conference as one of the first individual Triathlon America members. I'll post summaries live assuming I can get a wireless connection and/or my cellphone battery lasts.

First up though, there is a formal dinner at the conference, the major point of which is the first Triathlon America awards. The awards are described and listed as follows:

Awards Celebration
Triathlon America will recognize and honor the best companies, programs and athletes in the triathlon industry at the inaugural Triathlon America Awards Celebration, presented by Active Network on Monday, February 28. The awards will include:

* Long Distance Male Triathlete of the Year
* Long Distance Female Triathlete of the Year
* Olympic Distance Male Triathlete of the Year
* Olympic Distance Female Triathlete of the Year
* Retailers of the Year
* Most Innovative Triathlon Products
* Best Published Triathlon Photograph print or online
* Best Published Written Triathlon article print or online

In additional to naming the Long and Olympic Distance Triathletes of the Year, Triathlon America will also reveal the winner of the Most Valuable Triathlete Award Worldwide (MVT). Considered the "Heisman" of the sport of triathlon, the MVT award honors the most outstanding triathlete of the season. Your conference registration includes the Awards Celebration and the Legends of the Sport Reception presented by Troutman Sanders. Guest tickets are available at Suggested dress is business formal.

So, I asked, ", as a matter of interest how, when and by whom was the and when was voting for the awards?"
Paul Banta of Triathlon America answered "The voting panel was made up of Triathlon America founding members and about a dozen others, mainly prominent retired athletes. Mike Reilly coordinated the awards panel."

In response to a question about opening up the process, at least to full members, Paul said "I would encourage you to talk with Mike about this at the conference." - That would be Mike Riley, voice of Ironman and a founder of So this should be fun. If nothing else, I assume I'll be able to count on Dan Empfields support to give some transparency to Triathlon America. Afterall, Dan was the primary mover behind the USA Triathlon sunshine policy which drove more openness and transparency into that organization.