What is the ITU World Triathlon Series?
Beginning in 2009 the 2012 ITU World Triathlon Series is a premier series which expanded the previous single World Championship event into a series of seven, first-class events and a Grand Final. With the support of top-tier partnerships and sponsorships the new series will allow for exponential growth in athlete prize money, TV coverage and sport exposure.
The events take place in world-class cities, against iconic backdrops such as the Opera House in Sydney, Mission Beach in San Diego and Buckingham Palace in London. Throughout the series, top athletes will accumulate points as they compete head-to-head at each event. The series will culminate at the Grand Final where the year's top athletes will be recognised and awarded as the World Champion.
The series will follow the standard Olympic distance of: 1.5km swim, 40km bike, 10km run.
Why did you develop this series?
ITU has identified a significant opportunity to harness the energy and spirit from the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games into a high-profile international series which allows the world's top athletes to compete head-to-head throughout the year. This consistent level of competition not only allows for increased sport profile, but also pushes the athletes to a higher level of competition as the sport looks towards London 2012.
It is our hope that by developing a series of this magnitude, opportunities for public sector funding will continue to open up, encouraging global cities to see the value in hosting ITU World Triathlon Series events.
What has athlete reaction been to the new series?
Athlete response to the new series has been overwhelmingly positive. The athletes understand more than anyone the need to evolve the sport by bringing it to a mass audience.
We are confident that each year, as an increasing number of athletes recognize the benefits, the series will continue to grow and accumulate a following, both on a competitor front and among spectators.
Quote from Emma Snowsill, 2008 Olympic Gold medalist and three-time ITU Triathlon World Champion:
"For us, the athletes, this is phenomenal. It is a pretty amazing thing. The benefit of live TV is it creates a season. People will know when to watch and when to tune into triathlon. It is moving in the direction that everyone wants to see it".
How can athletes qualify to compete in the series?
Similar to the current process, National Federations (NF) will enter athletes and the start list will based on the current athlete's ranking.
Each NF will be given a maximum of six athletes with the host NF being given a maximum of eight spots. A maximum of 65 men and 65 women will make up the elite category with up to 75 men and 75 women in the Grand Final.
With each ITU World Triathlon Series event there will be an open age group race.
How are points accumulated?
Athletes will be able to use a combination of points from the Grand Final, ITU World Triathlon Series events and ITU Triathlon World Cups to build a final ranking. They may use a total of four races (combination of World Series and World Cup races) plus the Grand Final to count towards their final ranking.
How do athletes qualify for the Grand Final?
Athletes qualify through a detailed qualification process which takes into account his or her world championship ranking, ITU Points standing and respective continental championships.
Complete details can be found here.
What is each event prize money and bonus pool?
Each ITU World Triathlon Series event will represent a $150,000 USD prize purse with the Grand Final offering $250,000 USD. Additionally, the year-end bonus pool will be almost triple that of previous years, with $500,000 USD being awarded at the end of the series. The complete prize money breakdown can be found here.
What does the agreement with Lagardére Sports involve?
Lagardére Sports is one of the world's largest sports business companies and the sports division of French media giant, Lagardére. Lagardére Sports will work in partnership with ITU to create and deliver the new series, providing both financial and logistical support. This partnership will, for the first time, create the opportunity to showcase the athletes like never before through guaranteed live TV distribution.
Will there still be invitations for "new flag" and/or "sport development" athletes?
There will continue to be spots at the start line reserved for athletes from developing countries who have proven ability to compete at this level.
How will the ITU Age-Group World Championships work?
The Age-Group World Championships will take place at Grand Final every year. This will still be a one-day event as in previous years.
Each National Federation (NF) may enter 20 athletes in each age-group for both Olympic and Sprint distance. The host nation, however, will be allotted 25 slots in each age group for both distance races.
What will happen to the World Cup series?
ITU is fully committed to the ITU Triathlon World Cup Series and will continue to ensure the standards achieved by the series events are maintained. The level of prize money will remain at the top-level of the sport as will most other components including television, current news dissemination, professional photographs and Tricast.
Additionally, through an integration of the two Series, athletes will now be able to take two of their ITU Triathlon World Cup scores and add it to their overall World Triathlon Series ranking, ensuring have the highest possible ranking at the end of the year. If any athlete has had a disappointing placing or technical failure at a World Triathlon Series, they can substitute a World Cup score.
Will 2012 Olympic Qualification be affected?
As always, ITU will work closely with the IOC to determine qualification standards for 2012, but do not foresee many differences from the qualification process for 2008. The ITU World Triathlon Series and the ITU Triathlon World Cup Series will have separate but integrated point tables and the success of the Continental Rankings and Championships will continue to play a major role in the process.
How can the public follow their favourite athletes?
The public may keep track of all their favourite triathletes at http://www.triathlon.org where all athlete bios, current rankings and event times may be found.
Additionally, through our partnership with Upsolut, races will be distributed to major channels across the globe. Those wishing to watch the races can tune into coverage on the stations or online at triathlonlive.tv.