The International Triathlon Union (ITU) announced that it has selected USA Triathlon and the City of Chicago to host events as part of the 2014 and 2015 ITU World Triathlon Series (WTS), including the 2015 ITU World Triathlon Grand Final. Beginning next year from June 27-29, Chicago will welcome the world’s top Olympic-distance triathletes as one of the stops on the WTS, alongside such cities as Auckland, Yokohama, London, Hamburg, Stockholm and Edmonton.
Chicago will be the third-ever U.S. city to host a WTS race — joining San Diego (2013 and 2012) and Washington D.C. (2009) — and the first to host the WTS Grand Final since the series was founded in 2009. One-hundred and fifty of the world’s fastest triathletes — 75 elite men and 75 elite women — will compete in the draft-legal, Olympic-distance race (1,500-meter swim, 40-kilometer bike, 10-kilometer run) along the shores of Lake Michigan. The race course will include such famous landmarks as Navy Pier, Soldier Field and Millennium Park, and culminate with a loop around Buckingham Fountain at the finish line.
“I am honored to announce Chicago will be joining the ranks of other global cities as a host of the ITU World Triathlon Series, beginning in 2014,” said Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “With our gorgeous Lake Michigan setting, fervor for sports, and international demographics, Chicago is an ideal venue for this illustrious event. We look forward to welcoming these world-class athletes and their fans to Chicago and are certain that they will all have a wonderful time.”
The 2015 Grand Final will also serve as host for the ITU Age-Group World Championships, a first for the U.S. since 2005 in Honolulu. The race will consist of approximately 5,000 amateur athletes, who qualify to represent their respective countries, descending upon Chicago. In addition to Sprint- and Olympic-Distance Age-Group competition, other World Championships will include the following divisions: Paratriathlon, Junior, Under-23 and Aquathlon.
Pending formal approval, the Grand Final event in September 2015 will also serve as a U.S. Men’s and Women’s Olympic Qualifier event for the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro, as well as a U.S. Paralympic Qualifier for the sport’s debut at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio.
“We are thrilled to bring the championship final of our World Triathlon Series to Chicago, which has a strong history of hosting world-class sporting events. USA Triathlon has also been active in organizing World Triathlon Series races in the last several years. We are confident their combined experience will produce an excellent World Championship event,” said Marisol Casado, ITU President and IOC Member.
USA Triathlon will organize the event in conjunction with its partner, Lagardere Unlimited. The Chicago Sports Commission has played an integral role in bringing the international series to the city.
“The history of triathlon is rich in the United States, and we are extremely excited to host the ITU World Triathlon Series and the 2015 Grand Final. These events will showcase the sport’s greatest athletes on home soil in the compelling Olympic-distance format,” said Rob Urbach, USA Triathlon CEO. “Along with Lagardere Unlimited, we look forward to welcoming these athletes to The Windy City while joining forces with the Chicago Sports Commission and the City of Chicago to produce the best event possible.”
“The Chicago Sports Commission looks forward to partnering with the International Triathlon Union and USA Triathlon to make the World Triathlon Series a quintessential component of the Chicago sporting landscape,” said Sam Stark, Executive Director of the Chicago Sports Commission. “The athletes and fans traveling to Chicago will find that our city has much to offer — from impressive hotels, restaurants and shopping to a world-class triathlon course, and we look forward to welcoming them to our great city.”
In 2014 sprint- and Olympic-distance age-group races will be among the divisions offered for amateurs competing in the same venue as the world’s best athletes. Age-group registration will open for all skill levels on Tuesday, July 16 at 6:28 p.m. Central Time. An expo and festival will be held as part of the lead-up to the race weekend. Admission for spectators is free to the public for all races during the weekend, including the pro competition. There will be no open age-group races held in 2015 due to the Age-Group World Championships.
As part of the ITU World Triathlon Chicago, the elite women’s and men’s races will be broadcast live to an international audience and streamed online. The series is currently broadcast in more than 160 countries globally.
The ITU World Triathlon Series is an innovative series that allows the world’s top athletes to compete head-to-head throughout the year. Expanding upon the previous single-day World Championship, the format features eight regular-season events which then culminate with a Grand Final race in which overall champions are crowned based on points earned throughout the season.
“Hosting the WTS is a great platform for the U.S. to promote ITU draft-legal triathlon,” said Gwen Jorgensen (St. Paul, Minn.), 2012 Olympian and currently ranked No.1 in the world. “Competing at a WTS race in the USA is like having a home-court advantage — all the fans are cheering for you. It’s an amazing experience, and something that pushes all of the U.S. athletes further than we think possible.”
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