Pro Field Expands To Include Olympic Medalists

The top finishers in the men’s and women’s triathlons at this summer’s London Olympics will receive invitations to compete in the 2012 Hy-Vee Triathlon.

DES MOINES, IA – The field of professional athletes vying for the richest prize purse in triathlon is expanding this year to include Olympic medalists, organizers of the Hy-Vee Triathlon announced today.

Winners of the gold, silver and bronze medals in men’s and women’s triathlon at this summer’s Olympic Games in London will receive special invitations to compete in the Hy-Vee 5150 U.S. Championship Elite Cup on September 2 in Des Moines. Bill Burke, race director of the Hy-Vee Triathlon, said the addition of Olympic medalists will increase the field for each Elite Cup race from 30 to a maximum of 33 athletes.

“Since its inception in 2007, the Hy-Vee Triathlon has seen very best triathletes in the world racing for a share of the biggest prize purse in the history of the sport,” Burke said. “Obviously, in an Olympic year, any gathering of the best athletes at the 5150 distance would have to include the reigning Olympic medalists.”

For the second year in a row, the Hy-Vee Triathlon will serve as the national championship event for the 5150 Series sponsored by World Triathlon Corporation, owners of the famous Ironman and Ironman 70.3 brands. A 5150 triathlon event – also known as international distance or Olympic distance – consists of a 1.5 kilometer swim, a 40-kilometer bike ride and a 10-kilometer run, for a total distance of 51.5 kilometers. WTC’s 5150 Series is the world’s largest triathlon series at this distance, offering 10 U.S. events and eight international races in 2012.

Professional triathletes earn points throughout the year by competing in 5150 Series events and selected Ironman 70.3 races. The top 25 men and women in the 5150 Point Rankings qualify for the Hy-Vee U.S. Championship 5150 Elite Cup field. In addition, the reigning Ironman and Ironman 70.3 champions will receive invitations to compete in the Hy-Vee event. The remainder of the field will be filled with special invitees, including this year’s Olympic medalists, Burke said.

“The Hy-Vee Triathlon has truly revolutionized the sport,” Burke said. “The caliber of event they put on in Des Moines, and the $1.1 million prize purse, attract top triathletes who don’t normally compete at the 5150 distance. I have talked to Ironman and 70.3 champions who are adjusting their training schedules for the express purpose of being ready to compete at the Hy-Vee event, should that chance come along. This year’s event is going to feature the most diverse, most competitive field of athletes we’ve ever had.”

The 2012 Olympic triathlon competition begins Saturday, August 4 with the women’s race, followed by the men’s race on Tuesday, August 7. Both events will be held in London’s historic Hyde Park, with the swim portion taking place in the park’s famous Serpentine Lake. A record 39 countries have qualified for spots in the London 2012 Olympic triathlon.

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