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USA Triathlon’s Best of 2014: Top Moments

photo: COMPETITIVE IMAGE
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photo: COMPETITIVE IMAGE
photo: COMPETITIVE IMAGE

The end of the year is here, and it’s time to reflect on the best moments in the sport. From new programming to record-breaking events, 2014 was a year to remember.

January 16-18 — Triathlon Earns NCAA Emerging Sport for Women Status
After more than four years of planning and coordination, triathlon received overwhelming approval from the NCAA Division I Legislative Council to be the next Emerging Sport for Women, creating new opportunities for student-athletes within the Olympic pipeline. The vote was 95 percent in favor at the DI level, and two days later, DII and DIII schools also voted in support of triathlon, with 96 percent approval for DII and 93 percent approval for DIII.

Feb. 11 — Physically Challenged Open Division Guidelines added to USA Triathlon Competitive Rules
In order to provide accommodations for more physically challenged athletes, USA Triathlon revised its official rulebook to include a groundbreaking new Physically Challenged (PC) Open Division. The rules modifications wallow competition opportunities to athletes with Americans with Disabilities Act-defined disabilities who may not fit into a paratriathlon medical classification, or who are unable to follow the strict equipment usage rules of paratriathlon.

April 1 — USA Triathlon and ITU Launch TRIFECTA Triathlon Fantasy Game
Not an April Fools’ joke! USA Triathlon and ITU announced TRIFECTA, the triathlon fantasy game that allows multisport fans from around the world to predict the elite men’s and women’s podium finishers at each ITU World Triathlon Series event.

April 5 – Five in a Row for Colorado
The University of Colorado came out on top at the 2014 USA Triathlon Collegiate Club National Championships in Tempe, Arizona, winning their fifth consecutive overall team title and the 15th in school history. Colorado scored 4,028 combined points for the overall team title, while UCLA was the second-place team overall, collecting 4,007 points, and Cal’s men and women combined for third place in the team competition with 3,878 points.

May 29 — USA Triathlon Foundation Unveiled
USA Triathlon officially announced the launch of its charitable fundraising arm, the USA Triathlon Foundation. Donations and grants will help instill fitness in children in underserved communities across the country, open the doors of participation to aspiring paratriathletes and fuel the Olympic dreams of America’s rising stars.

May — Jorgensen’s WTS Streak Begins
On May 17, Gwen Jorgensen picked up her first ITU World Triathlon Series title of the year, winning the Yokohama event for the second year in a row. Two weeks later on May 31, Jorgensen and Sarah Groff secured gold and silver medals at ITU World Triathlon London, the first 1-2 finish by American women since the World Triathlon Series was launched in 2009. Jorgensen moved to the No. 1 spot in the Threadneedle World Rankings, and Groff was third, putting them into prime position for the second half of the WTS season.

June 27-29 — ITU World Triathlon Series Hits Chicago
Age-group athletes traveled from 49 states and Washington, D.C., as well as 31 countries around the world, all to compete in the inaugural ITU World Triathlon Chicago in the heart of the city. A record first-year field of 4,000 triathletes swam in Lake Michigan, took to the streets surrounding Grant Park on the bike and run and finished on the blue carpet at Buckingham Fountain. Gwen Jorgensen captured her sixth career ITU World Triathlon Series victory on June 28, making history as the first woman from any country to claim six titles since the series launched in 2009.

Aug. 9-10 — Age Group Nationals Once Again Reaches Record Heights
Nearly 4,850 of the best amateur athletes from all 50 states and Washington, D.C., competed over two days with the action centered at the iconic Milwaukee Art Museum and Discovery World. Heather Lendway (St. Paul, Minn.) successfully defended her Olympic-Distance Nationals title, posting a time of 2 hours, 5 minutes, 7 seconds to top the women’s field for the second straight year, and Steve Mantell (Fort Collins, Colo.) posted the winning time overall for the men, clocking in at 1:50:59. Taylor Knibb (Washington, D.C.) and Mike Meehan (Allison Park, Pa.) picked up the overall wins in Sunday’s Sprint Nationals.

Aug. 17 — Stephanie Jenks Strikes Silver at Nanjing 2014 Youth O