USA Triathletes to Compete for Last Olympic Spots in San Diego
The last qualifying event for potential U.S.A. Olympic triathletes is the 2012 ITU World Triathlon in San Diego on May 11 and 12. Athletes finishing in the top-nine spots in San Diego will qualify for the 2012 Olympics, assuming that there are spots left.
USA Triathlon set up the criteria used to determine which U.S.A. athletes qualify for the 2012 Olympics. The first criteria to qualify was that an athlete had to regularly compete in International Triathlon Union (ITU) events so that the U.S.A. had the potential to earn as many Olympic spots as possible; a country can earn up to three spots per gender. (According to the rankings released by the ITU, as of April 22, 2012, the U.S.A. women qualified for three spots and the men qualified for two.)
Next, U.S.A. athletes got the chance to qualify for the 2012 Olympics by being the top-two placing U.S.A. athletes (per gender) at the 2011 Dextro Energy Triathlon ITU World Championship Series race held in London, provided that they placed in the top-nine at that event. Only two U.S.A. athletes qualified at the 2011 London event: Gwen Jorgensen and Sarah Groff; Gwen placed second in London and Sarah placed seventh.
Thus, there is one potential U.S.A. women’s Olympic spot up for grabs. According the USATriathlon.org, the women who will compete for that spot are Laura Bennett, Sarah Haskins, Lindsey Jerdonek, Jillian Petersen, Kaitlin Shiver, and Kelly Whitley. If any of these ladies finishes in the top-nine places during the San Diego event, they will claim that spot; if two or more of the ladies finishes in the top-nine spots, then the top finisher within that field qualifies for the team. If none of the ladies finishes in the top-nine places in San Diego, then USA Triathlon will use their discretion in picking the third women’s spot for the U.S.A. Olympic triathlon team.
The U.S.A. men’s top finisher during the 2011 London event was Manuel Huerta; he finished 25th. Thus, there are no men from the U.S.A. who have yet qualified for the 2012 Olympics. Still, the U.S.A. has at least one men’s Olympic spot that they will fill, regardless of performance at the 2012 ITU World Triathlon in San Diego. The top finishing U.S.A. male during the San Diego event will go to the 2012 Olympics. If two men from the U.S.A. finish in the top-nine places in San Diego, then the U.S.A. will send both of those athletes to the 2012 Olympics.
Before Satchel was married and with kids, she competed in short triathlons (typically 500 meter swims, 13 miles bike rides, and a 3.1 mile run). While she never enjoyed being the last out of the water (a common occurrence), she loved everything about triathlons: training, thrilling transitions, and stiff as a board legs during the first mile after the bike ride. She is biased in thinking that triathletes are the most amazing of all athletes.
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