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Greg Billington was fourth in Friday's U23 World Championship.
Greg Billington was fourth in Friday's U23 World Championship.
photo: USA Triathlon

United States Earns Eight Medals, Two Titles at Paratriathlon Worlds

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BEIJING, China – The United States captured a pair of world titles and eight medals at the ITU Paratriathlon World Championships, and Greg Billington earned a fourth-place finish in the ITU Under-23 World Championships to highlight Friday’s action from Beijing.

Stockwell, McLaughlin Earn Gold to Lead U.S. Paratriathletes
Melissa Stockwell (Chicago, Ill.) earned her second straight paratriathlon world title, and newcomer Danielle McLaughlin (Santa Monica, Calif.) struck gold in her world championship debut to highlight eight medal-winning performances for Team USA at the ITU Paratriathlon World Championships on Friday.

Stockwell led a U.S. sweep of the women’s TRI-2 category podium with a time of 1 hour, 41 minutes, 31 seconds over the sprint-distance course. Sarah Reinertsen (Mission Viejo, Calif.) captured silver, while Scout Bassett (Palm Desert, Calif.) claimed bronze in a return to her native China.

“Triathlon is so strong in the United States, and I think we’ve really been the leaders in developing paratri, so I think it just shows a lot that we have a deep field and we could sweep the podium here,” said Reinertsen. “That’s great to see the red, white and blue take three medals home at a world championship.”

“The swim was awesome. The bike was tough — two laps of really big hills …,” said Stockwell. “I knew my competition would be coming up from behind. We got into transition pretty close, but I felt pretty good on the run.”

Stockwell, who competed in Beijing for the first time since representing the U.S. in swimming at the 2008 Paralympics, dedicated her win to U.S. Paralympic swimming coach Jimi Flowers, who mentored her in preparation for the 2008 Games and passed away in 2009.

McLaughlin was victorious in the women’s TRI-5 category in 1:35:08. “I still am kind of in shock,” said McLaughlin, who completed her first triathlon in April. “I feel like I’m in a daydream after winning nationals and getting to wear the USAT uniform. It’s a great experience.”

Also winning silver for the Americans on Friday were Andre Kajlich (TRI-1, Seattle, Wash.), Beth Price (TRI-3, Spanish Fort, Ala.) and JP Theberge (Escondido, Calif.). “The bike went really well. I just hammered it and felt really good,” said Kajlich, who had the fastest TRI-1 bike and run splits.

Additionally, Patricia Walsh (TRI-6, Seattle, Wash.) was a bronze medalist in her first world championship appearance. “I couldn’t be more proud to be here,” said Walsh, who won her first national title last month. “As a person with a disability, I certainly didn’t realize this would be possible in my lifetime.”

In all, 18 Americans competed in the event, which featured more than 70 paratriathletes from across the globe.

Billington Posts Strong Showing in Under-23 Worlds
USA Triathlon Project 2016 program member Greg Billington (Colorado Springs, Colo.) raced his way to a fourth-place finish in Friday’s ITU Under-23 World Championships with a time of 1:52:38 on the 2008 Beijing Olympic course.

After a solid swim split, Billington made the lead pack of the bike out of T1. Three riders made an early break, but their 70-second advantage onto the run course was erased by the second of four laps.

Billington established himself among a lead group of five, and he ran stride-by-stride with a trio British athletes entering the bell lap. Eventual winner Matthew Sharp pushed the pace to take a five-second win over countryman David McNamee. Great Britain’s Thomas Bishop was third. Visit triathlon.org for a full recap.

“I had a better swim than usual,” said Billington, who ran collegiately at Wake Forest. “Coming down to the run I thought I could take it to them. I tried to take the lead and throw in a couple of surges but it wasn’t enough.”

Despite just missing the podium, Friday’s race capped a remarkable comeback by Billington, who was struck by a car in April and missed a great deal of the season. “It was fun running on the Olympic course, and I’m glad to be here,” he said. “It’s always fun racing against the best in the world, and hopefully I can continue improving and step it up a notch.”

2011 ITU Paratriathlon World Championships – Click here for complete results 
750m swim, 20k bike, 5k run

United States Medalists
Male TRI-1
2. Andre Kajlich (Seattle, Wash.), 1:16:17
Female TRI-2
1. Melissa Stockwell (Chicago, Ill.), 1:41:31
2. Sarah Reinertsen (Mission Viejo, Calif.), 1:42:29
3. Scout Bassett (Palm Desert, Calif.), 2:00:26
Female TRI-3
2. Beth Price (Spanish Fort, Ala.), 1:45:23
Female TRI-5
1. Danielle McLaughlin (Santa Monica, Calif.), 1:35:08
Male TRI-5
2. JP Theberge (Escondido, Calif.), 1:12:16
Female TRI-6
3. Patricia Walsh (Seattle, Wash.), 1:25:05

2011 ITU Men’s Under-23 World Championships – Click here for complete results 
1,500m swim, 40k bike, 10k run
1. Matthew Sharp (GBR), 1:52:12
2. David McNamee (GBR), 1:52:17
3. Thomas Bishop (GBR), 1:52:19
4. Greg Billington (Colorado Springs, Colo.), 1:52:38
DNF Nicolas Tautiva (Clermont, Fla.)

About USA Triathlon
Founded in 1982, USA Triathlon is proud to serve as the National Governing Body for triathlon – one of the fastest growing sports in the world – as well as duathlon, aquathlon, aquabike, winter triathlon and paratriathlon in the United States. USA Triathlon sanctions 3,500 races and connects with more than 140,000 members each year, making it the largest multisport organization in the world. In addition to its work with athletes, coaches, and race directors on the grassroots level, USA Triathlon provides leadership and support to elite athletes competing at international events, including ITU World Championships, Pan American Games and the Summer Olympic Games. USA Triathlon is a proud member of the International Triathlon Union and the United States Olympic Committee.

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