By Loreen Barnett on 28/12/09 at 5:59 pm
Auckland, New Zealand, 28 December, 2009: Well 2009 has just about come to an end. It was a massive year for ITU, a year in which the image of our sport worldwide changed forever.
2009 brought us the start of the new Dextro-Energy Triathlon – ITU World Championship Series. This was a realization that triathlon as a product is one of the most exciting sports in the world. The dream was to take our sport into main stream media around the world. With live TV coverage and a media package second to none we hit the ground running.
As athletes we all strive to compete to our very best every time we step out to race. This attitude combined with the new series direction, has seen some of the most exciting racing and finishes ever in Triathlon. The sport just continues to grow at an astounding rate. And as athletes we continually have to re invent ourselves to gain an edge on each other. With the way this year has gone who knows what excitement is in store next year. It will probably have everyone passing along there Christmas pudding at the dinner table on the 25th!!
It goes without saying that we all can’t wait until the 10th of April in Sydney, Australia for the 2010 season to kick off. I’ll guarantee that it will be bigger and better than this year’s series - an easy thing to say when you see the talent we have coming through in the sport.
As I said before, 2009 was a great “season” for everyone in ITU and all of the athletes. However, the season ended for most of us athletes in September after the World Championship Grand final at the Gold Coast in Australia. But the year was not over for many of the ITU family. It was with great sadness that we recently had to say our final goodbye’s to two members of the extended family. The very sad and tragic news of the passing of ETU President Emilio Di Toro and ITU Media Communications manager, Peter Holmes, hit ITU hard. After everything that was achieved during the year, to say that “these two men didn’t play a huge part” would be the understatement of a lifetime. Both Emilio and Peter were cornerstones of ITU’s daily structure. From the level of the ITU Executive Board, getting us lazy athletes to a media conference on time sounds like simple stuff! Think again? The phrase that our sport was built on and which describes our sport comes from our Honorary President, Les McDonald. We all love these words and I think they will ring true forever for these two gentlemen. Les would always say “We are not like the others”. And so we will honor them in that fashion as athletes, forever.
I hope everyone can enjoy the time you have with your families over the Festive Season. We all look forward to bringing you even more excitement and thrilling events in 2010.
Don’t be shy to come out and give triathlon a go at any of the World Championship Series events. Triathlon is all about having fun! Professional athletes might not look like they are having fun as the pain etched across our face tells another story. But you can be sure “we all do it because we love it”.
Take care and be safe.
Kris Gemmell, Co-Chair, ITU Athlete Committee