Passion for Olympics, Youth Sports Leads to Support for USAT Foundation
by USA Triathlon Foundation
A passion for the Olympics and getting youth involved in the sport led a longtime triathlete to support the USA Triathlon Foundation.
Steve Dark found himself “completely hooked” on triathlon after his first triathlon in 2004, Mrs. T’s in Chicago. Having come from a running background, he was excited to focus on a goal that was more than just “working out.”
A year later, he won the triathlon lottery and finished the IRONMAN World Championship. After that, he focused on racing 70.3s, eventually bringing his finish times to the 5-hour mark.
Over the years, Steve has enjoyed racecations as a way to see the world while setting goals and staying healthy.
“I want to go to a really beautiful place, suffer through the race, finish it and then have a killer vacation in Kona or Fiji,” he said. “Doing this stuff keeps me in shape to keep up with four kids and still feel good and look good.”
He was introduced to the USA Triathlon Foundation through Dr. Gabe Cagwin, who he knew through being a major supporter for Arizona State University, and his good friends and clients, Audra and Michael Mallow.
“We would see each other at triathlons and after I got my hip replaced, Michael was a much better triathlete than me,” Steve said, as he laughed. Although his doctor told him his hip was the worst he’d ever replaced on a 50-year-old and he’ll likely need another replacement in 15 years, Steve doesn’t let that limit him and continues to stay active.
As for the Foundation’s mission, Steve said he and his wife, Kristin, wanted to be supportive of the youth and Olympic/Paralympic pillars. Unlike athletes in other countries, U.S. Olympians and Paralympians don’t receive government funding. Instead, they rely on part-time work, sponsorships and support from the USA Triathlon Foundation, as well as donors like the Darks.
“I’m a big supporter of the U.S. Olympic team,” Steve said. After being unable to attend Tokyo after the government banned spectators over COVID-19 concerns, he’s looking forward to the 2024 and 2028 Olympic Games in Paris and L.A.
He hopes his support will help future Olympics and Paralympics enjoy the same experiences he’s enjoyed—just being present in beautiful places.
The USA Triathlon Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and the charitable arm of USA Triathlon. With its mission to transform lives through sport by providing opportunities to swim, bike and run, the Foundation serves to generate a greater impact on the multisport community through charitable giveback and grants that advance the Foundation’s three pillars: (1) Encourage youth participation; (2) Inspire adaptive athletes; and (3) Ignite Olympic/Paralympic dreams. Since the Foundation was established in 2014, it has provided millions of dollars in grants to organizations and individuals in pursuit of its mission and pillars to create a healthier United States through triathlon.