• USA Triathlon Announces 2002 Athletes

    12/3/02

    USA Triathlon has announced its athletes of the year for 2002. In elite triathlon, Barb Lindquist (Victor, Idaho) won the women’s award and Tim DeBoom (Lyons, Colo.) took the men’s prize.

    Lindquist had a sensational year with 15 podium finishes, including an ITU World Cup victory and a second-place finish at the ITU Triathlon World Championships in Cancun, Mexico. She also won the accenture race series in Australia – becoming the first American to win an Australian series – and the Life Time Fitness Triathlon, in which she beat female and male triathletes for the $50,000 prize. She finished the year ranked No. 2 in the world behind U.S. teammate Siri Lindley, who has retired.

    DeBoom won his second straight Ironman World Championship in October of 2002, finishing in a time of 8 hours, 29 minutes, 59 seconds. He also won the Blackwater Eagleman Half-Ironman race in Cambridge, Md., setting a new course record with his time of 3:44:07. DeBoom capped of his year in November by finishing second at the Laguna Phuket triathlon in Thailand.

    The USA Triathlon elite duathletes of the year are Andrea Ratkovic (Norman, Okla.) and Greg Watson (Newark, Del.).

    Ratkovic, who won the elite duathlete of the year award in 2001 as well, had to sit out part of the 2002 season with Rocky Mountain spotted fever, but still finished on the podium in eight races, including victories at the McDowell Desert Classic and the Dannon Duathlon in Alpharetta, Ga. She won the women’s U.S. national duathlon title in Carlsbad, Calif., while finishing the race second overall. She also finished second at Powerman Alabama and 15th at the ITU Dannon Duathlon World Championships in Alpharetta.

    Watson, who has won the elite duathlete of the year award several times, continued his reign over U.S. men’s duathlon, winning six duathlons in a row in 2002. His winning streak included victories at the duathlon national championships and Powerman Tennessee. Watson was also the top U.S. men’s finisher, and 15th overall, at the ITU Dannon Duathlon World Championships in Alpharetta.

    The rookie elite triathlete of the year awards went to Kelly Handel (Zionsville, Ind.) and Tim Kitching (Baltimore, Md.). Handel, a resident athlete at the U.S. Olympic Training Center, won the Pan American Triathlon Championships and qualified for the 2002 world team by finishing third at the elite worlds qualifier in Boston. Kitching, an Australian racing for the United States for the first time, finished second at the U.S. elite national championships in New York.

    The rookie elite duathlete of the year awards were given to Melissa Hopkins (Birmingham, Ala.) and Justin Henkel (Sheboygan, Wis.). Hopkins finished fourth at Powerman Tennessee, eighth at the U.S. duathlon national championships and fifth at the Dannon Duathlon in Alpharetta, Ga. She also represented the United States at the long and short course duathlon world championships. Henkel also represented the United States at the long and short course world championships and finished fourth at the Saturn Duathlon and fifth at the Dannon Duathlon races in Boston and Alpharetta.

    The overall age group triathletes of the year for 2002 are Pete Kain (Cupertino, Calif.) and Julie Swail (Irvine, Calif.). Swail, a member of the 2000 Olympic women’s water polo team in her first full year of triathlon competition, won the U.S. age group national championship and the age group (30-34) and overall titles at the ITU triathlon and aquathlon world championships. Kain, a veteran triathlete, won the overall title at the age group national championships and placed third in his age group (35-39) at the triathlon world championships.

    The overall age group duathletes of the year are Joshua Beck (Carlisle, Pa.) and Amanda Gillam (Boulder, Colo.). Beck won his age group (20-24) at both the U.S. national duathlon championships and at the ITU duathlon world championships. Gillam won the women’s 30-34 age group at the duathlon world championships and had the overall fastest time among the age group women.

    More information on all athletes of the year listed below, are available on the USA Triathlon web site at http://www.usatriathlon.org/

    USA Triathlon is the national governing body for the multi-sport disciplines of triathlon and duathlon in the United States. For more information on this and other stories related to USA Triathlon, please contact communications and media relations director B.J. Hoeptner Evans at 719-597-9090, ext. 105 or at BJ@USATriathlon.org. USA Triathlon’s web site is http://www.usatriathlon.org/

    Courtesy: Transition Times