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Finalists for Ron Smith Triathlete of the Year Announced

Winners Revealed at the 2013 Triathlon Business International Conference Feb. 10-12

Triathlon Business InternationalOrange, CA - February 4, 2013 - Triathlon Business International (TBI), an industry organization dedicated to promoting the sport and the business of triathlon, today announced the finalists for its Ron Smith Triathlete of the Year Award. The male and female winner will be announced at the TBI/Active Network Awards Celebration dinner that will take place during TBI's 3rd annual conference Feb. 10 - 12 in San Diego.

The award, named after one of triathlon's earliest pioneers, recognizes a male and female triathlete who best demonstrate a combination of strong moral character, athletic performance and professionalism in the sport of triathlon. The award acknowledges triathletes who are not only strong competitors, but also are a role model to all; and who help promote the sport and pave the way for future triathletes.

Nominations were solicited from event directors, media, and directors or owners of triathlon and related sport organizations and businesses. The following finalists were selected based on award criteria by a panel of TBI founding members, board members and representatives of the general membership.

Ron Smith Award - Female

  • Kathleen McCartney Hearst and Julie Moss - Hearst and Moss arguably changed the course of triathlon in 1982 after ABC Wide World of Sports aired their battle to win and finally, Moss crawling her way to the finish line to complete the Ironman World Championship. Participant numbers jumped in competitions immediately. This past October, Julie Moss and Kathleen McCartney Hearst returned to the Ironman in Kona 30 years after their historic battle.
  • Meredith Kessler - Kessler lives by her philosophy of balance in life. She balances coaching, teaching and training each day. Kessler coaches athletes under the purplepatch training program umbrella, which also advocates balance, and she teaches power-based cycling classes at VeloSF, all while maintaining a rigorous daily training schedule as an elite Ironman triathlete. She has competed in 45 Ironman races since turning pro in 2009, and has had wins in all three years of her pro career including Eagleman 70.3, and Vineman 70.3 in 2012.
  • Sarah Groff - Groff put herself and the sport on the map last year with stats including: 2012 U.S. Olympic team, finished 4th; recording four top-10 finishes on the ITU World Triathlon Series circuit in 2012; being the first American with multiple career WTS podium finishes; and ranking seventh in the final series list to finish as the top American for the second consecutive year.

Ron Smith Award - Male

  • Jordan Rapp - Rapp elbowed his way into triathlon from a background that included neither swim, bike nor run. He entered the 2012 season as the reigning ITU World Long Course champion, and as a 3-time Ironman champion and Leadman champion. He exited 2012 as a 2-time Leadman winner and 5-time Ironman champion, winning Ironman Texas and New York, the latter the U.S. Ironman Championship. He has raised $160,000 for World Bicycle Relief, including donating his Specialized Shiv as a part of his WBR fundraising efforts. Through Rapp's efforts alone 1,200 bicycles are ridden today by people in sub-Saharan Africa who desperately needed transportation. Rapp is the CTO for Slowtwitch.com, and as the first-ever F.I.S.T. instructor remains one of the foremost experts worldwide in triathlon bike fit. In 2010 he survived an almost-life-ending bicycle accident that cost him a year of training and racing.
  • Andrew Starykowicz - Starykowicz started the 2012 season with a bang. While leading the Abu Dubai Triathlon coming into T2, Andrew collided with a volunteer. This collision led to her being a coma, Andrew being thrown in jail and not being able to leave the county for nearly 6 weeks. Andrew sustained many serious injuries that kept him out of competition for most of the year. Finally in October, he was able to return to competition. In November, Andrew entered his second Ironman distance event (Florida) and set a world record bike split on the way to the biggest win of his career to date. The highs and lows of Andrew's season have been significant and his sheer determination turned what would have been a career ending accident into his breakthrough year.
  • Hunter Kemper - Kemper led the U.S. at the 2012 London Olympic Games with a 14th-place finish. In the process, he became the only male triathlete to finish all four Olympic Games triathlon events and was the top American finisher in all four competitions. Kemper qualified for the U.S. Olympic Triathlon Team with a fifth-place at the 2012 ITU World Triathlon San Diego -- his final chance to automatically earn a spot on the roster. Kemper also finished second in the 2012 Race to the Toyota Cup series standings with wins at the Chicago Triathlon, Life Time Fitness Triathlon and Capital of Texas Triathlon. He also was second at the prestigious Hy-Vee Triathlon.

The two winners will be announced at the Monday, February 11 Awards Celebration and presented with specially-designed crystal awards from TBI member Ashworth Awards.

The TBI Conference agenda provides wide-ranging and timely information for everyone involved in the business and sport of triathlon, and the related sports of cycling and running. Some of the topics and activities for this year's TBI Conference include:

  • • State of the Sport address by TBI president Jack Caress
  • • Keynote speakers: Gary Hall, Jr., Andy Potts, Phil White and Rob Urbach
  • • Speed networking
  • • Marketing and Branding: "Using Triathlon to Promote Your Brand"
  • • Event Insurance: "Protect Your Gold & Minimize Risk"
  • • Technology Exploration: "Timing, Scoring and Technology"
  • • Importance of Triathlon to Your Business: "Prospecting for New Customers"
  • • Rules, Regulations and Drug Policies: "Doping - Fool's Gold"
  • • Web and Social Media Trends for 2013: "Online Precious Metals"
  • • Mergers and Acquisitions: "Turning Sweat Equity into Gold"
  • • Water Safety and Emergency Management: "Gold Standards of Safety"
  • • Hot Topics of Triathlon
  • • ActiveX workouts each morning
  • • The Active Network Awards Celebration including announcement of top retailers, top manufacturers, best triathlon article, best triathlon photograph and the male and female Ron Smith Award winners

About Triathlon Business International
Triathlon Business International is the world's leading organization dedicated to promoting the sport and business of triathlon. Founded by a coalition of industry leaders, TBI's mission is to leverage the knowledge, talent, and resources of the leaders in triathlon to the benefit of the sport by increasing and retaining advocates of triathlon and fostering a positive image of the sport.