Welcome to Triathlon America
"Our mission is to leverage the knowledge, talent, and resources of industry leaders in triathlon to the benefit of the sport. The mission will be achieved by increasing and retaining advocates of triathlon and by fostering a positive image of the sport.
Triathlon America has been founded by a coalition of industry leaders who saw the need for the triathlon business community to come together in an organization dedicated to promoting the sport and the business of triathlon."
(the above is the Mission Statement taken from the Triathlon America website)
So I read the self promoting article by Dan Empfield on Slowtwitch yesterday and I am left with a very bitter taste in my mouth. I have nothing against a group of industry leaders trying to work off each other to improve their businesses. That happens all the time.
My issue steams from the fact that their Mission Statement claims they will improve the sport and create a better image for triathlon. The problem with this statement is that you cannot improve the sport or grow the sport or improve the image of the sport without including the thousands and thousands of age group athletes.
We are the wheels that carry this sport. We buy most the products associated with triathlon and pay for most of race fees and membership dues (to governing bodies). To improve the the pockets of a few players in the industry does not improve the sport or excite more people to get invlolved in triathlon.
If you want to improve and grow the sport you will need to take a look at what keeps many people away from the sport, cost. To train and race effectively and safely you need to pay out a lot of money for equipment, race fees, nutritional supplies, etc. Even for someone that elects to race close to home (to avoid travel costs), and races only a couple times a year, the price tag will be above the amount most lower and middle income earners are willing to part with for recreation.
Unfortunately, this is where the majority of the population finds themselves in today's economy. Disposable income for recreation is tough to come by for a vast number of the world so triathlon is usually off the option list when they decide they want to try a new pastime.
In my opinion, this new organization is nothing more than a few big names in the sport trying to make an even bigger name for themselves with a hidden agenda to increase their bottom lines. If this is the true goal than they need to update the Mission Statement and ditch the "Super Hero" mentality that better business will improve our sport.
I hope that I am wrong and somehow they can improve the sport and draw more people into triathlon by cutting costs and fees. I cannot see this happening anytime soon so I will not hold my breath.