Wednesday, June 19, 2013

First Quarter Update

To get my blog started, I wanted to revisit the first quarter of the year to bring everyone up to speed on the work that has been done so far this year. It may be a post-Olympic year, but for us that means it's time to roll up our sleeves and get to work.

My priority during those first two months of the year was to work with Loreen to develop a restructuring plan for ITU that will ensure we smoothly transfer responsibilities when she lets go of the CEO role at the end of the year.

Part of the process to do this was to contract an experienced management consulting organization, the Kinetic Consulting Group from Geneva, to assist us with the process of reviewing our internal work processes and to help our strategic planning as we look forward to the next four years.

I also met several times with ITU staff in Lausanne and also by video connecting to the three staff groups in Lausanne, Madrid, and Vancouver.  I am very pleased with the progress we have made to date.

Take a look at some of our big projects below. The blog posts won't normally be so big, but I felt it was important to give you an update on all of our work to date. As always, please send us your thoughts and suggestions!

- Marisol

We succeeded in our effort to make sure Triathlon was not mentioned during the recent IOC Executive Board deliberations over what sport to eliminate from the Olympic programme.  In the weeks leading up to the decision, we sent a comprehensive update including our most recent data.  More importantly, we took advantage of every opportunity to speak with members of the IOC Executive Board.  At the Centennial Gala Celebration held by the Bobsleigh Federation in St. Moritz (Switzerland), I spoke directly with IOC Executive Board members RenĂ© Fasel, Thomas Bach, Ser Miang Ng and Gunilla Lindberg.  I also discussed this with Albert of Monaco, IOC, while Sarah Springman, who was able to join me in St. Moritz, spoke to Craig Reedie, IOC.

Once solidly inside the Olympic Core Sports, we shifted our energy to the campaign to include the mixed relay in Rio 2016.

ITU Sport Director, Gergely Markus, and I met with Christophe Dubi, IOC Sport Director, to ensure that our application documents are in order. We learned from Dubi that we must reinforce a couple of points in our report, especially television statistics. Although we have received some disappointing news about the possiblity of adding medal events to the Rio programme, our efforts continue.

Winter triathlon is exciting to watch and I have been thinking about how to increase awareness of these events. As always, I attended the ITU Winter Triathlon World Championship this year, staged successfully in Cogne, Italy.

While few countries participated, the show was fantastic.  We need to continue to think carefully how best to promote this winter version of our sport.  It may be best to find ways to connect Winter and Cross Triathlon, as more of the winter athletes participate in cross in summer, rather than triathlon.  Athletes in both events also use mountain bikes. I'll expand on those ideas a bit more next month when the Cross Triathlon World Championships are held in the Netherlands.

On a related note, the Director of the TRINATURA Triathlon, an Italian company that organises Cross Triathlon, visited the office in Madrid in February.

The 2nd Science and Triathlon Conference in Magglingen, Switzerland was highly successful with over 100 coaches from national federations representing all five continents.  I had the honour of opening the conference along with Denis Oswald (IOC), past President of ASOIF.  The feedback from ITU Medical and Coaches Committee members was very positive with strong encouragement to make this a regular event on the ITU calendar. A video overview of the 2013 conference is available here.  If you weren't able to make it this year, I hope to see you at the next one.

This is a critical part of the 2014-2017 Strategic Plan.  I had a meeting in Lausanne with our Sport Department: Gergely Markus, Zita Csovelyak, Rolf Ebling, Enrique Quesada and Thanos Nikopoulos. We also had the invaluable assistance of Renato Bertrandi, who contributed a great deal during the three days of meeting that we dedicated to the topic.

We have a big job ahead of us, but it is a wonderful new responsibility. For the first time in our organization we have 40 new ITU Federations.  Most of them have only just recently launched their triathlon activities.

PATCO development also is important, particularly in the Caribbean Island nations. We recently had the opportunity to meet with our friends in the Cuban Triathlon Federation (FCT), including Aurelio Romero, President, the Technical Director and three athletes, including Leslie Alvarez who competed at the Singapore Youth Olympic Games. We also visited the sports center in Havana and met with other Cuban sport authorities.

During that trip, I also visited with our Puerto Rican federation, including Fernando Delgado, President, where we are helping to promote a new international event in the heart of Old San Juan. In both cases, the federations already have made great progress.

The IOC Commission on the Evaluation of Candidate Cities visited Madrid earlier this year.  I was honored to be part of the official reception team, which gave me the opportunity to expand relationships with Commission members and IOC staff.  I learned a lot that will undoubtedly be reflected in my daily work with ITU.

Confusion over the process used to remove wrestling from the 2020 Olympic programme dominated discussion at the February ASOIF Council meeting in Lausanne. During the meeting, President Ricci-Bitti obtained the Council’s consent to appoint me as the Council’s representative to SportAccord, a position normally held by the ASOIF President.  This is a great honour for me and all of us in ITU.

Stay tuned for more updates from inside ITU!

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