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 Tim Yount, who is overseeing USA Triathlon’s effort to establish women’s triathlon established as a fully-fledged NCAA sport.
56 | Colorado Springs, Colorado
Chief Sport Development Officer, USAT
You might have noticed college sports aren’t doing so well these days. Games and meets are getting canceled and teams are being disbanded or suspended in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Now imagine trying to get a new NCAA sport off the ground in this environment.
That’s exactly what Tim Yount is trying to do. Yount, who’s been with USA Triathlon for over 30 years in a variety of roles, currently heads up the NCAA effort (among other things). As an emerging sport for women, the goal of that effort is to make triathlon a fully fledged NCAA sport. To do that, it needs 40 schools to sign on with a women’s varsity team by 2024. Right now, there are 35—three of which were added during the pandemic. “We only lost one [existing program dropping out during COVID-19]. To net two programs was a victory for us. No other sports saw additions during this time,” Yount said.
While the season got shifted to the spring and recruitment turned virtual because of the pandemic, the foot has stayed on the gas in large part thanks to Yount and his work with the varsity coaches and schools. USAT launched virtual combines to identify high school talent, committed to honoring its existing grants for schools (despite financial blows the organization is dealing with during this year), and started opening up the doors to international recruitment.
Yount is also constantly communicating with race directors about putting on safe races at both the junior and collegiate level, and working with coaches, including the Varsity Coaches Association, to help them with virtual education and training their athletes. “Our NCAA coaches are doing some amazing work in these tough times,” he said. Yount is also the biggest cheerleader and champion of another hard-working group—the athletes themselves. If triathlon manages to become an NCAA sport, with all the fanfare and resources that come with that, it will be in no small part because of Yount’s work.