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Best of 2013: Top Moments

Take a look back at the top U.S. triathlon moments of 2013

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USA Triathlon and the multisport community witnessed fantastic performances in 2013, from record-setting fields to first-time winners on the most competitive international stage to a new spectator-friendly race series.

Check out our list of the top moments of 2013 and be sure to share your own top moments in the comments section.

April 12-13 — Collegiate Nationals Expands Race Options, and Young Talent Shines
The USA Triathlon Collegiate National Championships has long been considered one of the organization’s signature events, and in 2013, the Draft-Legal Collegiate Championships were added to the program. More than 100 collegiate athletes qualified to compete in the draft-legal 750-meter swim, 20-kilometer bike, 5-kilometer run sprint-distance event on April 12, with Arizona’s Ben Kanute and University of Colorado Colorado Springs’ (UCCS) Erin Jones claiming titles. The races continued on April 13 with the traditional Olympic-distance championship, where Kanute and Michelle Mehnert from the University of Colorado raced their way to the top of the podium, and the Elite Triathlon Academy at UCCS won the Mixed-Team Relay. Colorado won its fourth consecutive team title, edging California by just two points.

April 19 — Gwen Jorgensen Makes History
The International Triathlon Union (ITU) World Triathlon Series returned to San Diego in 2013, and Gwen Jorgensen (St. Paul, Minn.) gave the American crowd a race to remember when she became the first-ever American woman to win a World Triathlon Series event. Jorgensen logged a 33:10 10k split on the run to surge ahead of Australia’s Emma Moffatt and Non Stanford of Great Britain with 500 meters to go. The win also earned Jorgensen her first USA Triathlon Elite Nationals title. 

May 10 —Jorgensen is Golden Again
Just three weeks after a historic win in San Diego, Gwen Jorgensen raced her way to another gold medal at the ITU World Triathlon Yokohama, earning the lead in the ITU World Triathlon Series standings.

May 27 — Paratriathlon Continues Growth Leading into Rio 2016
Paratriathlon was added to the Paralympic Games program in 2010, and the 2013 USA Paratriathlon National Championship was proof that the sport continues to gain popularity with a record field of nearly 80 athletes. Among the 14 national champions crowned in Austin, Texas, were athletes who have competed in the Paralympic Games in swimming (Melissa Stockwell, Mark Barr), cycling (Megan Fisher) and track and field (Krige Schabort, Christopher Hammer).

June 7 — Chicago Becomes Newest City in the ITU World Triathlon Series
ITU announced Chicago as the host of a 2014 ITU World Triathlon Series race, set for June, as well as the 2015 ITU World Triathlon Series Grand Final and Age Group World Championships. Chicago will be the third-ever U.S. city to host a WTS race – joining San Diego (2013 and 2012) and Washington D.C. (2009) – and the first to host the WTS Grand Final since the series was founded in 2009. Sam Stark, the Executive Director of the Chicago Sports Commission, was part of the announcement, which was made in Chicago in front of a crowd of media and multisport fans. “The athletes and fans traveling to Chicago will find that our city has much to offer – from impressive hotels, restaurants and shopping to a world-class triathlon course, and we look forward to welcoming them to our great city,” Stark said.

July 14 & Aug. 10 — Elite Rookie Katie Hursey Wins ITU World Cups
A member of USA Triathlon’s Collegiate Recruitment Program and a former runner at Syracuse University, Katie Hursey (Hampstead, Md.) had a breakthrough season in her first year as an elite triathlete. In Palamos, Spain, Hursey logged the fastest bike split of the day and burst ahead of the field on the three-lap run course to take the tape nearly 50 seconds ahead of the next closest competitor. Then, she earned a victory in Tiszaujvaros, Hungary, to win her second-straight World Cup. Hursey and other up-and-coming triathletes in USA Triathlon’s high performance program show just how bright the future of triathlon is for the U.S. 

July 21 — U.S. Team Captures Bronze at ITU Mixed Relay World Championships
The U.S. team of Sarah Groff (Hanover, N.H.), Ben Kanute (Tucson, Ariz.), Gwen Jorgensen and Cameron Dye (Boulder, Colo.) raced their way to a bronze medal at the 2013 ITU Mixed Relay World Championships, finishing just 5 seconds behind silver-medal winners New Zealand. The mixed team relay format was introduced in 2009, and the bronze medal was the first-ever medal for the U.S. in the event.

Aug. 10-11 — Age Group Nationals Once Again Hosts Record Field
The USA Triathlon Age Group National Championships have experienced outstanding growth over the past few years, and 2013 is no exception. More than 4,000 athletes made the trip to Milwaukee, Wis., for the two-day event featuring the most talented age-group athletes in the country. Heather Lendway (St. Paul, Minn.) and Colin Riley (Aurora, Ill.) posted phenomenal performances en route to overall wins in the Olympic-distance event, while Malia Ellington (Davidson, N.C.) and Matt Migonis (Hamilton, N.Y.) sped toward overall Sprint National Championship titles. 

Aug. 24 — Gwen Jorgensen Captures Her Third WTS Victory
After winning two ITU World Triathlon Series titles earlier in the season, Gwen Jorgensen cruised to victory in Stockholm, reclaiming the lead in the series standings just weeks before the Grand Final.  Jorgensen showed that her speed on the run was a defining factor in her success, with a 31:41 10k run split that was 45 seconds faster than the rest of the field. Jorgensen also became the only woman to win three ITU World Triathlon Series events during the regular 2013 season. 

Sept. 12 — Tamara Gorman Earns ITU Junior World Title
After picking up a bronze medal in her world championship debut at last year’s ITU Junior World Championships, Tamara Gorman (Rapid City, S.D.) added to her medal haul and won a historic gold medal for the Americans. Gorman’s gold was the first Junior Worlds title for the U.S. women, and she pieced together a solid swim, bike, run effort on a rainy day in London en route to her 57:08 victory. 

Oct. 12 — O'Donnell, Snow Lead Americans at GoPro Ironman World Championship
The 35th year of Kona wrapped up in one of the closest championship races that the race has seen. The U.S. combined for a total of four top-ten elite finishes led by Timothy O’Donnell (Boulder, Colo.) and Caitlin Snow (Brockton, Mass.), while 12 U.S. age-groupers won world titles at the event. Paratriathlete Minda Dentler (New York, N.Y.) became the first female handcyclist to officially finish in Kona.   

2013 — Two New Race Series Debut
As triathlon continues to grow, the demand increases for new and different events. USA Triathlon launched its elite Super Sprint Series in 2013, with races in San Diego and Las Vegas. The series opener was also held in San Diego on April 24, following the 2013 Omegawave World Triathlon San Diego. Sarah Groff, who earned a fourth-place finish at the 2012 London Olympic Games, bested the women’s field while Australian Aaron Royle won the men’s race. On Sept. 19, the event was held at night under the lights in Las Vegas, and USA Triathlon National Team standout Gwen Jorgensen and Australian Peter Kerr claimed victory. The series finale was held Oct. 26 back in the birthplace of triathlon at Mission Beach, where Katie Hursey and Ben Kanute ran their way to the top of the podium. Each event awarded the top athletes with prize money, and the September and October events were broadcast on Universal Sports.

Additionally, the USA Triathlon Retro Tri Series made its debut in 2013, with a focus on participation rather than competition. The events introduced the sport of triathlon and educated race participants about the healthy and active multisport lifestyle. The events were open to first-timers, seasoned veterans and those looking to stay active, all while swimming, biking and running in a safe atmosphere.

Click here for more of USA Triathlon's Best of 2013.

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