Greg Bennett to Race as US Citizen

Australia has lost one of it’s most sucessful Triathletes as Greg Bennett has confirmed that he will see out his career racing in the US, as a US citizen. It was confirmed today that the veteran Australian triathlete has had his request to be released from racing for Australia granted by the Triathlon Australia Board.

Bennett, 38, has held dual citizenship with Australia and the United States for a number of years. He has a long family history in the United States, married US triathlete Laura Bennett (nee Reback) in 2004, and has based the majority of his own racing career out of the US since the 2000 Olympic Games.

The 38-year-old lodged the request primarily so that he could be a part of Laura’s 2012 Olympic campaign, and to finish his own career for his adopted country.

“Laura and I have built our careers together for the past 11 years, leaning on each other constantly for support in coaching and mentoring,” Bennett said. “I would like to be with her for her final Olympic journey and I cannot do this as well as I would like unless I can be fully part of her team.

“In regard to my own career, the majority of my racing over the last several years has been in the United States, all my sponsorship deals are US-based, and the medical team I rely on is based in Florida and Dallas.

“I’d like to think I’ve given fair service to Australia over the past 17 years. At 38, I’m no spring chicken and I’d simply like to dedicate the final chapter of my career to my dual country. I’d like to thank the Triathlon Australia Board for agreeing to my request, believe the investment Australian sport made in me over the years was mutually beneficial, and that both parties should feel satisfied with this conclusion.”

Triathlon Australia President Peter Hedge said Bennett’s service and circumstances had deserved consideration.

“Obviously we do not take lightly the decision to release an elite athlete from racing for Australia,” he said. “However, given Greg’s prolonged service to the sport, his personal circumstances and the stage he is at in his career, the Board felt his request was reasonable. We wish him well in his future endeavours.”

Triathlon Australia’s head coach Shaun Stephens said both parties had been in open discussions for some time about Bennett’s position.

“We have had a number of honest and constructive conversations with Greg over the past few months and it has subsequently been decided that he be granted a release from racing for Australia to pursue his interest in racing alongside Laura during the final phase of his career. He has enjoyed a stellar career and we now challenge the next generation of Australian triathletes to match his professionalism and longevity.”

Bennett has competed in more than 80 World Cup events and achieved 26 podium finishes for six wins and two world series titles. He finished fourth at the 2004 Athens Olympics which, to date, is the best result by an Australian male at an Olympic Games.