U.S. elite development athletes train with USA Triathlon's Project Podium squad.
Trevor Witt/Project Podium

U.S. elite development athletes train with USA Triathlon's Project Podium squad.

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Transformational Major Gift to Project Podium Ignites Olympic and Paralympic Dreams

by USA Triathlon

Thanks to a large gift made to the USA Triathlon Foundation, the charitable arm of USA Triathlon, the Foundation will support the Olympic and Paralympic dreams of young up-and-coming U.S. athletes training with USA Triathlon’s elite development squad Project Podium.

Launched in 2018, Project Podium is USA Triathlon men’s elite development program based in Tempe, Arizona. Led by 2022 USA Triathlon Olympic Coach of the Year Parker Spencer, Project Podium identifies and recruits top U.S. running and swimming talent, providing 8-10 college-aged athletes a daily triathlon training environment, a path to elite triathlon development and medal performances on the world’s biggest stage, including the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

In many other countries, Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls are supported by government funding or lottery proceeds. This isn’t the case in the United States. U.S. Olympic and Paralympic sport organizations and their athletes do not any receive government funding. U.S. elite triathletes hoping to make it to the Games rely solely on support from the USA Triathlon Foundation, USA Triathlon, and corporate sponsorships. Meanwhile, governments around the world are increasing their financial commitment for the top competitors of the U.S., which makes philanthropic support more important now than ever.

This generous gift to the USA Triathlon Foundation supports Project Podium’s monthly sport performance needs, helps cover costs associated with equipment, supplements vital recovery options and offers opportunities to attend international races and training camps.

With the USA Triathlon Foundation’s support, Spencer has been able to build a daily training environment where Project Podium athletes can thrive. The group’s strong bond has created a special culture of selflessness, teamwork, hard work, focus, and dedication — all attributes critical to achieve podium results.

The culture has led to success for Project Podium athletes on the world stage — including placing three men (Reese Vannerson, Carter Stuhlmacher, Luke Anthony) in the top eight for the first time ever at Junior World Championships this summer and a fourth-place finish for visually-impaired elite paratriathlete Owen Cravens at the Paratriathlon World Championships.

“Without the support of donors, this success would not have been able to happen,” said Spencer. “We cannot thank our donors enough and look forward to continuing our work to ensure their investment in our program is paying off.”

Thanks to this generous gift made to the USA Triathlon Foundation, Project Podium is well primed to build on this 2023 success and ignite the Olympic and Paralympic dreams for these young athletes.

And importantly, this generous gift helps support Project Podium in enriching these young men’s lives off the race course. Project Podium athletes’ college tuition at Arizona State University is covered, eliminating the financial stress of the athletes and their families. Athletes then can move on from Project Podium not only with the ability to race elite triathlon on the world’s biggest stage, but also with a college degree and valuable life skills as they enter adulthood.

Philanthropy allows Project Podium to truly focus on training and winning medals on the international stage, and supporters of the USA Triathlon Foundation can feel an extra sense of pride knowing contributions will help aspiring Olympians and Paralympians get one step closer to achieving their dreams.

Fans can follow Project Podium’s daily training, race success and meet the athletes by following @usatprojectpodium on Instagram.

Help Ignite Olympic and Paralympic Dreams

Help our future Olympians and Paralympians compete to their full potential and reach their Olympic and Paralympic dreams. Philanthropic support for U.S. elite athletes and Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls can augment monthly primary coaching and sport performance needs, help cover costs associated with equipment, such as wetsuits and running shoes, supplement vital recovery options, and afford opportunities to attend international training camps. Make a gift and your tax-deductible donation will help support U.S. athletes and Team USA in their mission to reach the Olympic and Paralympic podiums.

Donate to the USA Triathlon Foundation today.

Project Podium athletes train together with head coach Parker Spencer.
Trevor Witt/Project Podium