World Championship Spots on the Line at Soldier Hollow
January 13, 2011 (Colorado Springs, CO) – After posting the United States’ most successful winter triathlon showing a year ago, America’s top winter multisport athletes return to action Saturday at the USA Triathlon Winter Triathlon National Championship at Soldier Hollow in Midway, Utah.
For the second consecutive year, Winter Nationals will be held in conjunction with the Bash Winter Tri. The event will be contested at the 2002 Winter Olympic venue for cross-country skiing and biathlon. More information on the venue and the event can be found at usatriathlon.org.
A year ago, the U.S. earned a pair of gold medals at the ITU Winter World Championship. Two-time national champion and a 2006 U.S. Olympian in Nordic skiing Rebecca Dussault (Gunnison, Colo.) captured the first-ever gold medal for the U.S. in the women’s elite race and anchored the American women to gold in the team relay event over the course of Feb. 13-14, 2010, in Eidsvoll, Norway.
Heather Best (Fairbanks, Alaska) and Emma Garrard (Park City, Utah) joined Dussault on the gold-medal winning relay.
On the men’s side, Brian Smith (Gunnison, Colo.) has won back-to-back national titles and owns consecutive 12th-place finishes at the 2009 and 2010 world championships. Jay Henry (Avon, Colo.) finished second a year ago and was 17th at the world championship in 2010.
On the line Saturday at Soldier Hollow will be national titles, as well as spots on the U.S. roster for the 2011 ITU Winter Triathlon World Championship, which is slated for March 26 in Jamijarvi, Finland. The national championship will consist of a 5-kilometer run, a 10-kilometer mountain bike ride and an 8-kilometer cross-country skiing leg – all on snow. The elites also will compete for a $3,000 prize purse.
To be eligible for selection to the ITU Winter World Championship an athlete does not need to be a licensed elite triathlete, but must be a current USA Triathlon annual member. Any unfilled slots will be selected via résumé submission, and all résumés must be submitted to the USAT national office by Jan. 17.
Qualifying athletes for the world championship will receive a $1,200 travel stipend, a uniform and paid entry to the race. The top three age group athletes also will qualify, but they are fully responsible for their own costs if they choose to travel to the world championship.
In addition to the elite national titles and world championship roster spots, age group national titles will be up for grabs Saturday.