History of Triathlon: 1991

Triathlon’s main movers were intent on putting the sport on the Olympic Games and worked years to make this happen. Fortunately, their concerted efforts paid off in 1991. Around the same time, the leadership with the Triathlon Federation USA underwent its routine changeover ushering new developments to the triathlon movement in the country.

ITU Triathlon World Cup Series

The much coveted spot on the Olympic program wasn’t easy to obtain. Nevertheless, triathlon’s pioneers worked hard to prove to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) that the sport is a highly organized one complete with its codified competitive rules, and that it’s supported and practiced by many athletes from various parts of the world.

These were in fact the main reasons for staging the International Triathlon Union Triathlon World Cup Series. And on the 5th of May 1991, the first in the series of ITU-backed races was launched in St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands. This was then followed by ten more races in seven various countries through the year.  All these events had an Olympic-distance triathlon course of 1500-meter swim, 40-kilometer bike, and 10-kilometer run.

Mike Pigg won the first ever 1991 ITU Triathlon World Cup Series held in St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands (image via www.triathlon.org)

Triathlon becomes an Olympic sport

Staging the ITU Triathlon World Cup Series was crucial as it was the ultimate deciding factor for the sport’s inclusion in the Olympic Games. Needless to say, the success of the race series was proof enough for the IOC. Within the year, triathlon was officially accepted as an Olympic sport and with the ITU taking the honor and very crucial role of being the sport’s sole international governing body.

Leadership changeover at Tri-Fed USA

Tri-Fed’s leadership was basically in disarray during the early 1990s. But while this was the case, some positive developments occurred. During this time, the organizers of Ironman Canada requested that Tri-Fed’s Commissioner of Officials assist them in training and certifying their officiating personnel.

Ironman Canada’s request not only signified their intense belief on the credibility and efficiency of Tri-Fed’s Officials Program, but also helped pave the way towards building a strong bond with another organization supporting the sport.

Also, after two tumultuous years, a new Executive Director was elected in the person of Steve Locke. Locke initiated a thorough review of the Officials Program and decided to scrap the Officials Coordinator post.

R.E. Jimison, who in 1987 was named the first ever Commissioner of Officials and who was largely responsible for training and certifying the first batches of officiating personnel, accepted the request to resume his position as Commissioner of Officials as well.

Sources:

ITU Triathlon World Cup Celebrating 20 Years

1991 ITU Triathlon World Cup

USA Triathlon

USA Triathlon Officials Program 1983-1998

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