Top US Team Finishes Fourth
June 28, 2009 (Des Moines, Iowa) – The foursome of Sarah Haskins, Jarrod Shoemaker, Laura Bennett and Matt Reed took fourth at the inaugural ITU 4x Mixed Team World Championships in Des Moines one day after the Hy-Vee Elite Cup Triathlon.
Two other US teams struggled with the format that featured a 250m swim, 6.6k bike, and a 1.6k run completed by each athlete in succession. The team of Mary Beth Ellis, Kevin Collington, Kate Ross, and Greg Billington finished 14th, while junior athletes Jennifer Howland, Ben Kanute, Jessica Clay, and Lukas Verzbikas finished 16th.
Team Switzerland took first, followed by Australia and Canada.
“The mixed team race is an incredible format. To have people cheering for their country was great,” said USAT Sport Performance Director Scott Schnitzspahn. “Many of our athletes said they even prefer this style of racing to the regular Olympic distance. This absolutely needs to be in the Olympic Games. We didn’t get the result that we wanted as a team, but it was a good fight and we learned a lot for next time.
“Our junior team from Multisport Madness was outstanding. They tried hard and learned a lot. I think it was a great experience for them. The mixed team format is a terrific way to develop our athlete development pipeline.”
This new exciting format of racing is aimed at introducing a new generation to the sport with smaller spectator friendly courses, faster, more intense action and more manageable distances for potential participants. The ratio of two women to two men also fits triathlon’s proud history of gender equality with equal prize money and racing opportunities.
With the IOC selections for additional events for the London 2012 Olympiad approaching, this is a great showcase for a possible team event at the Olympic Games.