ITU World Cup Series Turns 20

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After 20 years–and $280,000 in prize money–ITU celebrates how its series changed the sport.

A new era in triathlon history began on May 5th 1991 as the ITU World Cup series kicked off in St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, just two years after the first World Championships in Avignon, France. Canadian Carol Montgomery and American Mike Pigg entered the history books as the first World Cup winners after triumphing in the early distance of 2km swim, 50km bike and 12km run.

“Winning the first World Cup in 1991 was big, every time I won a race it was important,” said Montgomery. “At that time, Les McDonald had a life long dream of getting triathlon into the Olympic Games. Getting the series started and trying to get the athletes to support the races was one of many obstacles he faced. At the time I did not realise how significant the World Cup series was in this process. He needed to showcase the sport with as many athletes from different countries as possible.”

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