Talent ID

Are you a collegiate swimmer or runner looking for the next step in your elite career? Try triathlon — you could be the next U.S. Olympic medalist!

USA Triathlon’s Talent ID Program identifies, mentors, and supports runners and swimmers whose unique skillsets could translate to success in elite triathlon. Our program supports athletes who have the unique combination of talent, work ethic, and determination that will carry them through the challenging process that leads to winning, or contributing to Team USA winning, an Olympic gold medal.

USA Triathlon's high performance team is here to support athletes like you who have proven success in your individual sports and give you the opportunity to excel on the multisport world stage.

Previous graduates of USA Triathlon’s Talent ID Program include:

  • 2016 Olympic gold medalist Gwen Jorgensen
  • 2020 Olympic silver and bronze medalist Katie Zaferes
  • 2020 Olympic silver medalist, Morgan Pearson
  • Fellow U.S. Elite Triathlon National Team members: Summer Rappaport, Taylor Spivey, Matt McElroy and Kirsten Kasper

Are you next?
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Triathlon Basics

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    Learn the basics of swim, bike and run.

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How the Talent ID Program Works

The USA Triathlon Talent ID Program focuses solely on draft-legal World Triathlon racing with the goal of helping specially-identified athletes go from being introduced to the sport of triathlon to being a self-sustained professional triathlete over the course of two years. This program is highly exclusive, and only a few athletes are selected each year. The following is an example of the selection process and how the athlete goes from being eligible to being selected.

The Talent ID Program supports and funds the development and progression of athletes who qualify for selection with either of the following time standards: World leading time standard in one discipline and an Olympic Development Potential (ODP) time in another discipline; 2x International time standards in any two disciplines; Or 1x international and 1x national standard if you are younger than 20 years old.

  • Women's Standards

    Women's Standards
  • Men's Standards

    Men's Standards
  • Junior Girls Standards

    Junior Girls Standards
  • Junior Boys Standards

    Junior Boys Standards

If you are a swimmer, cyclist, runner, or brand new to triathlon and meet (or are very close to meeting) these qualifications, please email a short bio, your age, and verifiable time trial data or race results to CRP@USATriathlon.org to learn more about how the selection process works how our Talent ID Program can best help guide you in getting started on the Olympic Development path.

Pro Triathlon Basics

Every year there are substantial racing opportunities for elite triathletes. Every race has equal prize money for men and women. Race opportunities include:

  • Race formats

    Olympic-style racing on the World Triathlon stage is raced in the draft-legal format in these distances:

    • Sprint Distance (750m swim / 20k bike / 5k run)
    • Super Sprint (300m Swim / 7k bike / 2.5k run)* *note, these distances can fluctuate, and also this typically coincides with a Semi-Finals & Finals Format
    • Eliminator (Multiple rounds of Super Sprint Distance where the last athletes are eliminated)
    • Arena Games (Indoor triathlon raced in a pool, and on the virtual game Zwift using bike trainers and a treadmill)

  • Triathlon at the Olympics

    The Olympics have two events: Men's and Women's Individual Race and Mixed Relay.

    The individual Olympic-distance race is made up of a 1.5k swim (.9 mile) / 40k bike (24.8 mile) / 10k run (6.2 mile).

    The bike is “draft-legal” which means you ride a road bike (not a time trial bike) and athletes are allowed to ride in a group (as opposed to solo).

    The Mixed Relay is a super-sprint triathlon made up of two men and two women (the order for Paris 2024 is Male/Female/Male/Female) where each athlete completes a 300m swim / 6k bike (3.7 mile) / 1.6k run (1 mile).

  • Draft-Legal Race Options

    Draft-legal racing at the highest level takes place at the Olympic Games and annual World Triathlon Championship Series (WTCS).

    Elites also compete at the World Triathlon World Cup level and development athletes cut their teeth at the Americas Cup level, with races in North, Central and South America.

    USA Triathlon also offers the 2023 Human Powered Health Triathlon Development Race Series, which provides competitive draft-legal race opportunities in the U.S. for Elite Development athletes to earn a USA Triathlon Elite License and gain valuable experience.

    Learn More about Draft-Legal Events
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