Thursday, October 06, 2005

The Resurrection of the Universal Triathlon Alliance

Some will say, "don't wake a sleeping giant, but I say, why the hell not?" In 1994 I stepped away from 8 years of service to the USA Triathlon Regional and National Boards, and entered into 10 years of self imposed exile, not from the sport but from the politics of the sport. While I served for one year as the President of the Board I experience the good, bad, ugly and uglier of the sport. It was time to move on, watch over my real world business and enjoy the sport for a change. So after 10 years of being away from that aspect of the sport I re-entered it in a big way. Little did I know that the simple process of running for the board in 2004 would lead to a very expensive lawsuit against the Federation and some of its board members, and ultimately to the hot seat in Colorado Springs as the interim executive director. Again for 6 months I got to see the good, bad, ugly and uglier of the sport. While we won the lawsuit and got the evildoers off of the board, there was still a lot to do in getting the Federation back on track. While there was a lot to do I feel that a lot was accomplished in this short period of time. But, I came away from that office with mix emotions on what the mission of USAT really is. It was my understanding that it was to support and provide leadership to the entire sport of triathlon, whether it be the Olympians(this group didn't even exist in the beginning), the age groupers(either sprinters or Ironmen), the race directors, etc., etc. This is not what I see happening and in recent weeks it is even more evident that USAT is the slave to the ITU/USOC scheme of things. For the most part I view USAT obsolete to the cause of its original mission, mired in beauacratic committees and commissions of its own making, plus the subservancy to the USOC.

To remedy the points made above I am going to resurrect an organization I created in 1995 and put in hibernation in 1998, the Universal Triathlon Alliance(the sleeping giant). Originally it was created to offer strong benefit packages to the multi-sport community. While we were able to have over 30 states represented in its membership our timing was just about 6 years too soon, for overwhelming success. Due to the demands of my other real world manufacturing business I decided to put UTA to sleep for a while and bring it back at a more appropriate time. Now is that time and within the next few weeks I will have a new web site, new benefits, and will add to our offering a sanction package for interested races. UTA will become a new alternative to the multi-sport world, representing unique, and distinctive knowledge to the sport.

The original board of UTA was made up of an appointed group that read like a who's who in the sport of triathlon, namely: Bill Bell, Jim Ward(deceased), Pamela Galbraith, John Ricca, Donna Smyers, Henry Benning, Cathi Koeler, Darryl Haley, Jenny Goettsche. It will be our goal to establish another quality board and will ask all of these originals to serve again, if they have the time.

Mike Greer, President, Universal Triathlon Alliance


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