Thursday, March 23, 2017

Some thoughts about the SuperLeague Triathlon held this past weekend in Australia

The SuperLeague Triathlon, last weekend in Australia, generated lots of good coverage and images for our sport. It also brought back good memories of the successful Formula 1 Series hosted by the Australian Triathlon Federation in the 1990’s. This innovative format had a positive impact on the evolution of Triathlon.

Here at ITU, we have always worked for the development and growth of our sport and embrace change and innovation, therefore we followed the three days of competition in Hamilton Island very closely. We were happy, as were many of the athletes, to see the extensive media coverage that our athletes and the sport attracted, which was showcased throughout the different formats in the SuperLeague event.

As an International Federation with gender balance at the core of our DNA, the absence of a women’s event concerned us greatly. To have a competition like the SuperLeague, launching without a women’s event is a huge step backwards for us. ITU stands out from other sporting organisations as one of the best for gender equality and it has been this way since our inception. Equality is with the men’s and women’s competitions, as well as the prize money and media exposure.

Women started participating in triathlon races at the same time as the men did. We even have an event that is a great example of gender balance: our Mixed Relay, an event in which two women and two men compete together. It was Mark Allen (USA) and Erin Baker (NZL) who, back in 1989, at the first ITU World Championship, campaigned so men and women could have equal prize money and equal competitions. We are very proud that this has been at the very heart of our constitution.

We are sadden that the SuperLeague pushed in the opposite direction on gender equality, but we are confident that this will not set a precedent. Since the announcement of the SuperLeague, we have talked with the organisers to express to them the lack of women is not the concept of triathlon we promote. We believe they are committed to include women in the next races on their calendar.

The lack of anti-doping tests is another concern we have about the SuperLeague. ITU commits time, effort, energy and a substantial budget to our anti-doping mission. Our organisation is absolutely committed to eradicating the use of prohibited substances and methods in triathlon. ITU is focused on protecting clean athletes and ensuring that anti-doping tests take place at all events.

We at ITU, are enthused about the additional media attention the SuperLeague event provided, as well as many spectators following the event worldwide. We have also heard many positive comments from the athletes at the event who are on board with the different formats, change and innovations. But we cannot give up on our core initiatives, like gender balance and clean sport. Let’s all learn from the experiences and contribute all together, for our sport to keep on growing, developing and attracting more spectators, athletes and partners, that way, we will all grow together. Let’s maintain that strong image of gender balance and clean sport that we have created for triathlon, and continue to be a role model for many other organisations.


  1. Your anti doping stance would have been far more credible had the '16 Grand Final Cozumel issue been handled properly. We only learnt by accident that an athlete tested positive in both the A and B samples, yet he was not sanctioned an we will never know his name nor the reason why a Clembuterol positive was passed as a meat contamination case. Coincidentally, the only Mexican lab in the WADA list received a six month ban in the same dates.

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