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Historic Triathlon Event

Posted by Gale Bernhardt on Nov 14, 2008 2:02:54 PM

A few weeks ago I was invited to attend the International Triathlon Union (ITU) Congress and Federation Programme that precedes the ITU Congress meeting in Madrid, Spain. When offered the opening, I jumped at the opportunity to take part in the preamble as a presenter during some of the forum sessions and to lend my ideas to Sport Development.


Here are the provisional ITU Sport Development sessions:


  • 2008-2012 Strategic Plan: Taking Triathlon to the World

  • Strategic Planning 1 - Long Term Athlete Development. "From the playground to the podium"

  • Strategic Planning 2 - Building the support programme of coaches, educators, resources and event to support Long Term Athlete Development.


Each country that is recognized by the ITU will be sending National Federation (NF) representatives to attend the sessions. There are several additional sessions for National Federations to attend including case studies; marketing and sponsorship; events; media and television.







The final event of the preamble to the actual ITU Congress session is a celebration of the Les McDonald era. Those of you that have not been in the sport of triathlon for very long may not know who Les McDonald is or what he has done for the sport of triathlon.



Briefly, Les worked to form the International Triathlon Union. To be recognized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), a sport must have an International Federation (IF). The IF for triathlon is the ITU.



Les has been the only president the ITU has known and he is retiring this year. A man with extraordinary drive, an often controversial fellow, he was the primary driver to get our sport onto the Olympic Programme. Getting a new sport onto the programme is no easy task and remaining on the programme is a challenge as well. For example softball and baseball will not be represented at the 2012 Games in London.



It will be over a week before I head to Madrid, but preparation for the trip has already begun.



It is a considerable honor for me to be involved in, and to attend, this historic ITU Congress. I'm excited for the trip.



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