>Why should U.S.and for that matter Canadian elite triathletes be handicapped
>when going to international competitions.We have some serious talent in our two
>countries. Athletes that could have a shot at the top spots in the future World
>Championships and the Olympic Games.
>I am glad you pointed out the fact that some of these "pros" are trying to get
>by on what many would consider a poverty wage. The sad fact is, it's true. An
>even sadder fact is the truely great talent that has left the sport because
>there is so little money to be had.
>People wonder why the Europeans and the Aussies are now starting to dominate
> the sport. It's a complex issue and the reasons are many, but one thing is that
> they are not dithering over drafting for the pros in standard distance races.They
> are getting on with.
I doubt anyone on RST has ever or would ever deny the talent potential of
the pros. And I'll bet the concern over nationalistic fervor ("Oh, the US has
fallen so far behind in competition") is highly overhyped. I think you misread
exactly how much (or how little) the age groupers care about the pros.
Yeah, sure, we think they're awesome, and there's no denying their talent,
and that some of us use some of the pro performances as ultimate achievements
for ourselves. But you know what? For the majority of current US age
groupers, what the pros want has no bearing on whether we'll show up to that
transition area early Sunday or Saturday morn.
I'll wager that what does matter is that they (the pros) are doing the same
basic race as the age groupers are, under (more or less, with a nod to USAT's
pro rules) the same rules. When a governing body (ITU) in all it's wisdom
decides to become a champion of draft legal tri and change the bedrock rules
of what we consider near and dear then you get the kind of outrage oft
expressed on RST.
Worse yet, which was my basic point, is that when the ITU dangles the
Olympic carrot to the pros and says "draft legal" and in turn, the pros begin
lobbying the race directors for ITU points races (draft legal), and then the
race director's take our US pure triathlon mainstay races like St. A's, Gulf
Coast, Wilkes-Barre, Wildflower, etc. and infect them with this pro vs. age
grouper delineation you get a sport who's rules bend to the minority
representation (pros) and not it's fundamental bedrock (age groupers).
Drafting sucks because it's not the race the age groupers do, want to
do, nor do we have any great desire lend our US age group support (recall that
age groupers support the US race directors & their races with pros usually
comprising 5% or less of entrants) to races that feel compelled to bend this
way because they need to "support the pros". Hell, if you privately asked
most US pros with Olympic aspirations, they'll invariably tell you they'd
prefer draft free any day..it's the race they've done for years. But instead
ITU and the Olympics force them to defend doing draft legal races (much like
the Jill Newman diatribe in IT a few months ago). Pathetic.
I'm not being anti-pro-with-Olympic-dreams here. I'm merely saying that
if the ITU is doing a different type of race they want to call "triathlon"
and we need some US qualifiers, then go create some *new* draft legal races in
the US, let the ITU give it's blessing and be on your merry way to Sydney.
Don't f*k with the well established time trial US tri's like Wilkes-Barre &
St. A's and put the race directors in the middle of the storm. Let the ITU
build it's own circuit. CART vs Indy.
And like other posts have noted, don't spew that word "triathlon" around
newbies to the sport unless you take the time to discuss the context of the
word. It's sad that I have to put the words "time trial" in front of the
original meaning to explain.
My rather strongly worded $0.02.