USA Triathlon's Together, We Thrive Initiative Wins USOPC Diversity Equity and Inclusion Award
by USA Triathlon
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — The United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee today announced USA Triathlon’s Together, We Thrive initiative as the recipient of its annual Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Choice Award, the fourth time the organization has been honored by the USOPC for its diversity and inclusion efforts since 2017.
Awarded since 2015, the DE&I Choice Award recognizes a National Governing Body (NGB) or High Performance Management Organization (HPMO) for the creation of a single diversity, equity and inclusion best practice or a series of diversity, equity and inclusion best practices. After an internal USOPC selection committee narrows down the submissions, finalists are put to a vote of representatives from NGBs and HPMOs across the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Movement.
USA Triathlon’s Together, We Thrive program received the highest number of votes, and the organization was honored at a celebratory dinner as part of the 2021 U.S. National Governing Bodies Council meeting in Colorado Springs, Colorado. This is the third time USA Triathlon has been honored by the USOPC with the D&I Choice Award; the organization also earned the award in 2018 and 2019.
Launched in August 2020 with the goal of integrating diversity, equity, inclusion and access into all areas of USA Triathlon’s business and community, the Together, We Thrive initiative is centered around four principles that serve as guideposts for future decision-making and programming at USA Triathlon: Inclusivity Starts with Us, A Community Focus, Accessibility & Impact, and Representation Matters. The Together, We Thrive initiative involved the formation of a Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Access (DEIA) Advisory Council, consistent DEIA messaging sent to all constituent groups, the launch of the Sport is a Human Right campaign, roundtable discussions, accessible grassroots programs to grow the sport, scholarship opportunities and on-site activations at USA Triathlon National Championship events.
Among the highlights of the Together, We Thrive initiative include:
- Launching the DEIA Advisory Council made up of leaders in the space and sport to support and advise on DEIA within USA Triathlon, and further ensure USA Triathlon is keeping DEIA at the forefront of its organization and the sport.
- The Sport is a Human Right campaign, developed to provide opportunities to participate in sport in communities impacted by discriminatory legislation prohibiting transgender youth from participating in public school sports and/or prohibiting public schools from participating in, sponsoring, or providing coaching staff for sporting events that allow transgender youth to participate.
- The Together, We Thrive: Actions for Change DEIA Summit, an annual summit taking place again this Nov. 5-7 that explores topics related to diversity, equity, inclusion and access (DEIA) in multisport.
- The Together, We Thrive Student Summit, which took place Oct. 9 and provided an accessible introduction to career possibilities within the Olympic and Paralympic Movement, with a focus on recruiting students from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs) and Tribal Universities.
- Event activations at 2021 Duathlon National Championships, 2021 Zone3 Youth & Junior Nationals, and 2021 Toyota Age Group National Championships. The activations provided opportunities for athletes and their family members to learn more about Together, We Thrive and subscribe to the quarterly DEIA newsletter. In addition, athletes were able to pick up pronoun stickers for race bibs, pronoun buttons to wear, Sport is a Human Right buttons, and Together, We Thrive stickers offered in various colorways representative of different communities.
“At USA Triathlon, we are dedicated to combating discrimination, challenging inequalities and championing social justice in the multisport community and throughout the endurance sports industry,” said Megan Ritch, USA Triathlon Manager of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Access. “Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Access is a guiding principle in USA Triathlon’s Strategic Plan, and through our Together, We Thrive initiative, we have reached hundreds of thousands of athletes, coaches, club leaders and race directors through on-site activations at our National Championships, our inaugural Actions for Change Summit and consistent communication and promotion across all our digital channels. This is just the beginning as we continue to build a future for the sport that all people can see themselves being a part of.”
USA Triathlon’s second annual Together, We Thrive: Actions for Change Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Access Summit is scheduled for Nov. 5-7. The free virtual summit will explore topics related to diversity, equity, inclusion and access in multisport — with a focus on presenting actionable ideas that athletes, club leaders, coaches, race directors and other multisport enthusiasts can implement at the local level to create change. Registration for the free event is open and can be found here.
USA Triathlon’s three DE&I Choice Awards and four total DE&I awards are the most of any NGB or HPMO in the Olympic and Paralympic Movement.
In 2017, USA Triathlon was honored by the USOPC with its Advancing D&I Award as the NGB or HPMO with the highest annual growth percentage of underrepresented individuals based on diversity data for women and ethnic and racial minorities.
In 2018, USA Triathlon received the D&I Choice Award for its Paratriathlon Military Engagement Program, as the USOPC community celebrated USA Triathlon’s efforts to introduce injured veterans to the sport of paratriathlon as an avenue for a healthy and active lifestyle, providing appropriate opportunities for all participants, from those simply learning the skills to swim, bike and run safely for recreation to those who wish to represent the U.S. in elite paratriathlon competition.
In 2019, USA Triathlon’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Engagement Program was honored with the D&I Choice Award by the USOPC. Intended to provide a pathway to the sport of triathlon in an underrepresented population, the HBCU Engagement Program aims to lower the barriers to entry for people of color to participate in the sport by providing access, education, resources and opportunities through partnerships with these institutions.
For more information about USA Triathlon’s DEIA efforts and Together, We Thrive initiative, visit usatriathlon.org/thrive. To learn more about the USOPC’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusion awards, click here.
About USA Triathlon
USA Triathlon is proud to serve as the National Governing Body for triathlon, as well as duathlon, aquathlon, aquabike, winter triathlon, off-road triathlon, paratriathlon, and indoor and virtual multisport events in the United States. Founded in 1982, USA Triathlon sanctions more than 4,000 events and connects with more than 400,000 members each year, making it the largest multisport organization in the world. In addition to its work at the grassroots level with athletes, coaches, and race directors – as well as the USA Triathlon Foundation – USA Triathlon provides leadership and support to elite athletes competing at international events, including World Triathlon Championships, Pan American Games and the Olympic and Paralympic Games. USA Triathlon is a proud member of World Triathlon and the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee (USOPC).