Thursday, June 15, 2017

Thank you!

I’m sure you all know the fantastic news that the Mixed Relays have been officially included in the Programme for the Olympic Games, starting already in Tokyo 2020. I really wanted to thank you all for the great efforts you all put into this. I always say that there is no ‘i’ in team, and the triathlon family showed the whole world that we are now more than ever a team, and our teams will also be present in Tokyo and all future Olympic Games, as they already are in the Commonwealth Games, Youth Olympic Games, Asian Games, Mediterranean Games and PanAmerican Games.

This has been a great and long journey. We first thought of including the Mixed Relays in the Olympics almost 15 years ago, and right after the London 2012 Games we started working with the IOC in order to get a third event included in the Olympics. This couldn’t happen in Rio due to external conditions, but it was finally a dream come true this past week.

What makes it more special is that the inclusion is not only the result of the push and commitment of the whole ITU management team, but also for all our stakeholders. It was the athletes launching the support campaign as well as the athletes announcing that we are in. They are our most valuable stakeholders, and they are, as they have always been, at the very heart of all of our decisions. I am extremely satisfied that thanks to all our efforts, they will now have now the opportunity to earn another gold Olympic medal.

I also want to thank all the staff who has tirelessly worked on this project. So many hours, so many meetings, so many ideas, so many documents, videos and publications were made with so many people involved with them, that I wanted to extend my gratitude to the whole team. We were widely recognised as a young IF that is always looking to the future, and the sky is the limit. We thought big, and we succeeded. Now it’s time to enjoy the moment and then we will get on with developing this event so we can offer the world one of the most thrilling events in Tokyo 2020, as I’m sure our three triathlon events will be.

I don’t want to finish without thanking all the National Federations who were fully supportive of our project, yours is also this triumph and you will be the ones offering your athletes the possibility of more Olympic glory. It’s now your time to push to have the best possible teams in all Mixed Relays events.

And for all stakeholders, organisers and cities involved in Mixed relays events, you will have even more chances of hosting and taking part in those very special races. We said it from the very beginning – the athletes want it; National Federations applaud it; and fans demand it.  With unpredictable drama and the display of team pride, the Triathlon Mixed Team Relay format is triathlon racing at its most thrilling. It is also a great chance to show the world what we are made of - we are a federation who strongly believe in gender balance and we showcase it at every single event.
With all my heart, thank you again for all your contribution to this dream of having even more triathlon at the Olympics!

Friday, April 21, 2017

Our Triathlon Family meets in Korea

After a full week of work in Denmark, it was time to move to Asia to celebrate the meetings of the ITU Executive Board, held in Seoul. It was a real pleasure to have the chance to visit the city, and I would like to especially thank Mr. Justin Park, President of the Korean Federation, for the warm welcome to their country and their hospitality during our visit. I felt privileged to have had the opportunity to experience the Korean culture, cuisine, history and traditions, even if it was for a short visit.

It was a very fruitful meeting with our Members of the Board, with our minds set already on the future. We will be opening the bidding process for WTS and World Cup events for 2018 very shortly, and we are more than ready to welcome cities to our already great triathlon family.

It was also great to see that our athletes are more and more involved in the management of ITU, with Shen-Yen Hsieh, from Chinese Taipei, taking the seat of Athletes Committee at the meeting, as the Chair, Jessica Harrison, could not attend. It was also time for discussions about proposals, improvements, changes and adaptations to our competition structure. And of course to take a look at what’s out there and to see how we can all together keep on improving our sport.

The two day meetings came to an end with an extraordinary visit to the venues of Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Games, where we had the chance to meet the President of the organising committee, Mr. Hee-Beom Lee, and Vice President, Mr. Jaeyoul Kim. I’m absolutely sure that it is going to be amazing! And we even had the chance of meeting their new mascot! 

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Sharing some days with the Sports community

It has been many more days of meetings, familiar faces, sharing knowledge, experiences and adding value to what has been learnt during the last months, and to work towards future projects. I shared the week with our Secretary General, Antonio Fernández Arimany, and with our Sports Director, Gergely Markus, who are always on top of everything and helping us to promote our sport while being able to meet with as many stakeholders as possible.

The week began in the Danish town of Aarhus, at the SportAccord Convention. The annual event of the sporting world welcomed the General Assembly of SportAccord and the Association of International Summer Federations (ASOIF). We also attended the presentations of the two cities that are bidding to host the Olympic and Paralympic Games 2024, Paris and Los Angeles, of which I am a member of the Evaluation Commission. It was also great to have the chance to discover this amazing city thanks to the Danish Triathlon Federation.

It has been a very important week, where I had the privilege to be elected to the Council of ASOIF, at the same time as my colleagues Sebastian Coe (President of the IAAF), Ugur Erdener (President of the International Archery Federation) and Chuing-Kuo Wu, President of Boxing, also did.

I am convinced that under the great leadership of the President Francesco Ricci Bitti, we will continue to work hard to bring value to our Federations and our athletes. I will do this with dedication, commitment, transparency and loyalty to all the International Olympic Summer Federations, as I have been doing for years in the International Triathlon Union that I preside.

I firmly believe that with our constant work, firm commitment and dedication to sports projects, our sports will have more and more presence, we will all grow together where we will have a cleaner sport, more attractive events, stronger athletes and better work teams.

It was also great that we could reorganize the SportAccord, putting an end to five complicated years. From now on, it will be called the Global Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF), to better represent the nature of the organisation.

And for a week sharing work with my colleagues from other Federations in Denmark to Barcelona, ​​where I had the privilege of attending a meeting of the Olympic Solidarity Commission chaired by the Sheik Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah and with whom we could share in the Ciudad Condal of a few hours of new projects, new vision for the future and many ideas to develop.

It was a pleasure to be able to be with them in the Hall Sant Jordi of the Palau de la Generalitat, and later in the Palace of Pedralves, sharing the legacy of Juan Antonio Samaranch in Barcelona.

Now ahead and some days resting over Easter, the meeting of ITU’s Executive Board. This means work, work and work to make our sport greater!

Uniendo todas las voces del deporte

Éstos han sido, de nuevo, días de reuniones, caras conocidas, compartir conocimientos, experiencias y tratar de poner en valor lo aprendido durante los últimos meses, y trabajar por los proyectos de futuro que tenemos por delante. Ha sido estupendo poder compartir esta semana de trabajo con nuestro Secretario General, Antonio Fernández Arimany, y con nuestro Director Deportivo, Gergely Markus, siempre a la cabeza de todo y ayudándonos a promover nuestro deporte ya poder reunirnos con la mayor cantidad posible de actores. Da una gran confianza contar con este apoyo siempre. 

La semana comenzó en la localidad danesa de Aarhus, donde se ha celebrado la SportAccord convention, cita anual de todo el mundo deportivo, en la que hemos celebrado la Asamblea General de SportAccord, la de la Asociación de Federaciones Internacionales de Invierno (ASOIF, por sus siglas en inglés) y hemos podido también asistir a las presentaciones de las dos ciudades que aspiran a organizar los Juegos Olímpicos y Paralímpicos de 2024, París y Los Ángeles, de cuya Comisión de Evaluación soy miembro. Fue un placer poder tener la ocasión de disfrutar de esta encantadora ciudad, gracias entre otras cosas a la Federación Danesa de Triatlón, que nos enseñó Aarhus.

Han sido unos días muy importantes en los que además he tenido el orgullo de ser elegida para el Consejo Ejecutivo de ASOIF, un Consejo para el que también han sido votados el británico Sebastian Coe (presidente de la IAAF); el turco Ugur Erdener (presidente de la Federación Internacional de tiro con arco) y el taiwanés Chuing-Kuo Wu, presidente de Boxeo.

Estoy convencida de que bajo el gran liderazgo del Presidente, Francesco Ricci Bitti, entre todos lograremos seguir trabajando para poner en valor a nuestras Federaciones y a nuestros deportistas. Me pondré a ello con dedicación, compromiso, transparencia y lealtad a todas las Federaciones Internacionales Olímpicas de Verano, tal y como llevo años haciendo en la Unión Internacional de Triatlón que presido.

Creo firmemente que con nuestro trabajo constante, firme compromiso y entrega a los proyectos deportivos, nuestros deportes tendrán cada vez más presencia, creceremos todos juntos, podremos conseguir grandes logros y haremos entre todos que tengamos un deporte más limpio, unos eventos más atractivos, unos atletas más fuertes y unos equipos de trabajo mejores.

También ha sido muy bueno que hayamos podido reorganizar la estructura de SportAccord, poniendo así fin a cinco años complicados. Desde ahora, la organización se denominará la Asociación Global de Federaciones Deportivas Internacionales (GAISF, por sus siglas en inglés), para representar mejor la naturaleza de la organización.

Y de una semana compartiendo trabajo con mis colegas de otras Federaciones en Dinamarca a Barcelona, donde tuve el privilegio de poder asistir como invitada a la reunión de la Comisión de Solidaridad Olímpica, que preside el Jeque Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah, y con la que pudimos compartir en la Ciudad Condal de unas horas de nuevos proyectos, nueva visión para el futuro y muchas ideas por desarrollar. Fue todo un lujo poder estar junto a ellos en el Salón Sant Jordi del Palau de la Generalitat, y más tarde en el Palacio de Pedralves, compartiendo el legado de la Barcelona de Juan Antonio Samaranch.

Ahora, por delante unos días de descanso antes de la próxima reunión de nuestra Junta Directiva. Trabajo, trabajo y mas trabajo para hacer nuestro deporte aún más grande.

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.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Innovating in the development of our sport in Latin America

Montevideo became the capital of the Iberoamerican triathlon this weekend. Not only because the Iberoamerican Triathlon Championship was held in the Uruguayan capital, but also because we were able to share some moments with many members of the Iberoamerican triathlon family and have some really fruitful meetings to talk about the future of our sport in this region.

The race was amazing, with Spaniard Camila Alonso proclaiming herself, for the second consecutive year, Iberoamerican champion, followed by the Mexican Adriana Barraza and the Ecuadorian Elizabeth Bravo. In the men's race, the winner was the Brazilian Manoel Messias, who shared the podium with Argentine Gonzalo Tellechea and Mexican Eider Mejia.

During the weekend, I participated together with Liber García, President of CAMTRI and the Olympic Committee of Uruguay, and José Hidalgo, president of the Spanish Federation, on the meeting of the Assembly of the Iberoamerican Triathlon Association. A productive meeting in which we had the opportunity to talk about the development of our sport in this region, to see how it has evolved to the best in recent years, and to establish not only dates for new championships, but also different projects that will help the growth of our sport in the southern half of America.

In 2018, the Middle Distance Championship will take place in February in Havana (Cuba), the Olympic distance will be in Santiago de Chile in March, while the Sprint will be cotested in November in Santo Domingo.

One of the projects that I feel tremendously proud of is the Virtual Campus of the Americas, a great shared project, supported by new technologies and focused on the training and development of our officials, a project that also has the total support of the Spanish Federation, who will lead the first course of those activities, the Long Distance Specialist Coach seminar.

On the virtual platform, all CAMTRI members will have access to non-regulated and complementary training. In addition, they will have available a virtual library of free consultation and a section for development and training in the American countries. A cooperative development project that will allow the Latin American and CAMTRI countries to exchange and create new paths for the growth of triathlon in these countries.

Innovando en el desarrollo de nuestro deporte en Iberoamérica

Montevideo se convirtió este fin de semana en la capital del triatlón iberoamericano. No sólo porque en la capital uruguaya se disputó el Campeonato Iberoamericano de triatlón, sino también porque hemos podido aprovechar la cita para reunirnos con buena parte de los miembros de la familia del triatlón iberoamericano y ver el futuro de nuestro deporte en esta región.

La española Camila Alonso se proclamó, por segundo año consecutivo, campeona iberoamericana de triatlón, seguida de la mexicana Adriana Barraza y de la ecuatoriana Elizabeth Bravo. En la carrera masculina, el vencedor fue el brasileño Manoel Messias, que compartió podio con el argentino Gonzalo Tellechea y con el mexicano Eider Mejía.

Durante el fin de semana, participé junto a Liber García –presidente de la CAMTRI y deo Comité Olímpico de Uruguay- y José Hidalgo –presidente de la Federación Española, en la reunión de la Asamblea de la Asociación Iberoamericana de Triatlón. Un productivo encuentro en el que tuvimos la ocasión de charlar sobre el desarrollo de nuestro deporte en esta región, ver cómo ha ido evolucionando a mejor en los últimos años, y establecer no sólo fechas para nuevos campeonatos, sino también diferentes proyectos que ayudarán a que el triatlón tenga cada vez más presencia en la mitad sur de América.

En 2018, el Campeonato de Media Distancia tendrá lugar en febrero en la Habana (Cuba), el de distancia Olímpica será en Santiago de Chile en marzo, mientras que el de sprint se disputará en noviembre en Santo Domingo.

Uno de los proyectos de los que me siento tremendamente orgullosa es el Campus Virtual de las Américas, un gran proyecto compartido, apoyado en las nuevas tecnologías y centrado en la formación y el desarrollo del triatlón iberoamericano, que cuenta con el decidido apoyo de la Federación Española, que liderará el primer curso de sus actividades, el de Entrenador Especialista en Larga Distancia.

Desde la plataforma virtual se impartirá a los miembros de la CAMTRI formación no reglada y complementaria. Además, tendrán disponible una biblioteca virtual de libre consulta y un apartado para el desarrollo y la formación en los países americanos. Un proyecto de desarrollo cooperativo que permitirá a los países iberoamericanos y de la CAMTRI intercambiar y crear nuevas vías para el avance del triatlón en estos países.