The 2010 Dextro Energy Triathlon ITU World Championship Series was launched in Sydney today with a press conference on the 31st floor of Intercontinental Hotel.Â TheÂ Sydney Opera House, Sydney Harbour and Botanical Gardens provided aÂ stunning backdrop for the launch.Â
After giving aÂ very Aussie ‘G’day Mate’, ITU President and IOC Member Marisol Casado said â€œOn behalf of the entire triathlon family, I’d like to say that we are thrilled to return to Sydney. On September 16, 2000, I saw hundreds of thousands of passionate fans line the streets of Sydney to witness triathlon’s debut in the Olympic Games. Spurred on by the encouragement of the spectators, our top athletes showcased the true essence of triathlon â€“ passion, intensity and charisma â€“ attributes that continue to add to the sports growing popularity.â€
The launch was also attended byÂ the Honorable Kevin Green MP (Gaming and Racing, Sport and Recreation), Canada’s Simon Whitfield, who won gold at triathlons’ debut appearance as an Olympic sport at the Sydney Games in 2000 and the 2008 Olympic Champions Emma Snowsill of Australia and Germany’s Jan Frodeno.Â
Mr Green spoke about the New South Wales Government’sÂ pleasure in hosting this weekends event and said that it looked forward to next years bigger event that will include age groupers as well as the elite ITU athletes.
Lane Beachley, a seven-time surfing world champion and member of the Laureus Friends & Ambassadors programme, said:
â€œTriathlon is such a challenging sport and it’s becoming increasingly popular in Australia. Sydney will be playing host to the world’s fastest growing outdoor sport, claiming the most spectacular backdrop with the iconic Opera House and Harbour Bridge, framing our beautiful Sydney Harbour and the hundreds of athletes that will be lining up to compete for crucial world title points.â€
Laureus World Sports Academy Chairman Dr. Edwin Moses said: â€œI am delighted that the International Triathlon Union has chosen Laureus to be their charity partner. Triathlon is a booming sport attracting more and more people to take part. It’s a terrific elite sport building a solid base of healthy role models to inspire newcomers of all standards. I know this is going to be a great partnership and I would like to thank the ITU for teaming up with Laureus.â€
Dr Moses was tasked with monitoring the first Olympic triathlon in 2000 as part of his official duties. He was out on the water in a boat following the race from the start and gotÂ a close up view of what triathlon was all about.
The Dextro Energy Triathlon ITU World Championship Series was introduced in 2009, creating a series of world championship races rather than a single-day world championship. There will be seven stops throughout the 2010 season, showcasing the world-class cities of Sydney, Seoul, Madrid, Hamburg, London, KitzbÃ¼hel and Budapest, which will host the Series Grand Final.
Each race will be broadcast live with programming aired worldwide in more than 100 countries on five different continents. A total of $2.85 million (USD) will be available for athletes racing the World Championship and World Cup Series. A total of $150,000 (USD) will be up for grabs at this weekend’s event.
Two Olympic champions are on the start list for the men’s race: Canada’s Simon Whitfield, the 2000 Sydney Olympic Triathlon winner, and Germany’s Jan Frodeno, who took gold at the Beijing Games in 2008.
â€œI’m relishing the opportunity to race on the streets of Sydney again which have such fond memories for me, and I’m eager to get my world championship campaign off to a winning start this year,â€ said Simon Whitfield.
Each of the ITU triathletes had an opportunity to say a few words. Simon Whitfield, who spent some of his high school years as a border at Knox Grammar School on Sydney’s North Shore, made mention of the great years he spent living here and also the special bond he feels through family links, including marching,on ANZAC day, with his Grandfather who was a diggerÂ in 1946. Winning the Olympic Gold medal at the inaurgal Olympic triathlon event in Sydney in 2000 was a career highlight and he is glad to be back ten years later to defend his ‘title’ in this race.
Jan Frodeno spoke about the highs he experienced after winning the Olympic Gold in Beijing in 2008 and the effect it had on the start of the 2009 season. It was really not until halfway through the season that he felt he was he was racing well again.
Lisa Norden showed what a polished media performer she is, and revealedÂ that her mother has recently started a triathlon club at home in Sweden. Triahtlon in Sweden was relatively unkown before Norden put it on the map. Norden also spent some of her formative years in Sydney where her mother worked as a nurse.
Emma Snowsill spoke about her childhood dream of competing at the Olympics and of what she has learnt over the last 18 months about the bodies limitations. She is looking forward to a year without injuries and getting back to her best.
Emma Moffat has had a less than ideal start to the year with a broken shoulder in February and is using this to play down her prospects for 2010 and no doubt to try and make her competitors think she is not up to speed.
Finally Brad Kahlefeldt spoke about wanting to have a serious tip at the championship this year and noted that as he gets on in years he may have to start thinking about getting a real job soon.
Simon Whitfield took exception, in a light hearted way, to talk of ageing and spoke briefly about the need to keep training as he ages and the importance of not letting his fitness levels drop as the body takes longer to get back to peak . The resultÂ being that he is no longer able to have an off season like he used to.
Adding even more excitement to the Sydney event was the announcement of a new partnership between the International Triathlon Union and the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation, the charitable arm of the Laureus World Sports Academy. For at least the next two seasons, Laureus will be the official Global Charity Partner of ITU. Funds raised will go to projects bringing sport to hundreds of thousands of young people around the world.