After a very weird 2020, we’re (finally) now headed into 2021—but there are still a lot of questions left unanswered, in the world and in our sport. Who will help shape triathlon? Who are the people working in front of and behind the scenes to do exciting, new, or interesting things? Who should you keep your eye on in the next multisport year?
We racked our brains, scoured the tri-space, and came up with this varied list of multisport movers and shakers—all of whom we’re looking forward to watching in 2021. We can’t wait to see what they do and how they change the sport in the year ahead. We’ve been revealing one person at a time, but Active Pass members can view the entire list right now. Today we’re highlighting Julia Polloreno, who is part of the Ironman team working to keep triathletes engaged during a tough year.
42 | Encinitas, California
Director of Content Production, Ironman
As the former editor-in-chief for Triathlete, Julia Polloreno is now part of the Ironman team charged with keeping triathletes engaged and swim-bike-running through the pandemic. While virtual racing was always on the cards for Ironman, it quickly shifted those efforts via its successful Ironman VR series. By the end of the summer, Polloreno and the team had figured out a way to broadcast (via Facebook Watch) pro triathletes competing across swim, bike (on the trainer via Rouvy), and run. Triathletes, from newbie to veteran, have tuned in, and she said it has been fun to see pro triathletes engage with the multisport community in a way that’s never been done before. As of the end of September, the pro challenges had seen over 13 million unique views.
With Ironman VR also offering so many distances at varying competitive levels for age-group athletes (with some options allowing athletes to complete a distance over a period of time instead of all at once), the format has also brought down both the intimidation level and barrier to entry present in a traditional 70.3 or Ironman event. Even as in-person racing returns, Polloreno and the Ironman team will work to find a blend of sharing stories and broadcasts from both race formats into 2021 and beyond. With over a decade of experience covering the sport, she’s excited to continue telling stories and shifting the narrative of what it means to be a triathlete.
“There’s a changing perception in what a triathlete looks like,” she said. “When I first came into the sport, I think I shared that perception of triathletes being super hardcore, ultra-fit, Type-A people, and in telling the story of sport and the people who do it I’ve realized that it really can be inclusive sport and anyone can do it.”