Collaborative efforts in anti-doping, standardized rules and growth of triathlon
Two giants in triathlon forged an alliance today as Ironman and the International Triathlon Union (ITU) signed a historic agreement to develop the sport of triathlon.
In an announcement released yesterday, both parties signed a Memorandum of Understanding to “ensure the growth and harmonization of the sport” through standardized rules, collaboration on anti-doping initiatives, and conjoined efforts to increase age-group participation in multisport.
“The best way to grow triathlon, and improve the sport at all levels, is to do so together,” said ITU President Marisol Casado of the agreement. Ironman President and CEO Andrew Messick agreed, adding “Our collaboration with the ITU is of considerable importance for the prolonged and continuous growth of triathlon.”
A key priority of this memorandum is the agreement to share resources to combat all forms of cheating in the sport, including doping, technological fraud and manipulation of competition. Though both Ironman and ITU have increased their anti-doping efforts in recent years, a collaborative process will allow for both parties to expand their resources for testing, results and enforcement.
The agreement will also create a standardized set of rules centered around the ITU’s “Clean, Fair & Safe” mandate, a set of actions designed to ensure the fairness of the event and safety of the athletes. This will result in a single set of rules for long-distance triathlon beginning in 2018, including standardized draft zones, passing rules and penalties.
Additionally, ITU and Ironman will collaborate to grow the ranks of the sport through recruitment efforts for first-time athletes, the development of women in triathlon, and education for athletes and coaches. Both parties have increased their recruitment and retainment efforts in recent years, with efforts such as Ironman’s Women for Tri program and global expansion of events and ITU’s support of national federation efforts such as USA Triathlon’s Tri it Forward program and efforts to establish triathlon as a NCAA sport.