She's so humble that she'll probably wouldn't like us to say it but we think we'll see Katie Hursey in the Olympics one day. She could swim, bike and run with the best as an amateur but in college she could only select one sport in which to compete. Now, thanks to the wonderful decision by the NCAA, athletes will not have to "settle". Here's Coeur sponsored athlete, Katie Hursey's view on the addition of Triathlon as an emerging women's sport:
"Growing up, I was a competitive swimmer. I identified with that sport from the age of 5 through 16. I also played soccer and lacrosse. During my sophomore year of high school, I decided to stop playing lacrosse. While looking for something to help me stay in shape for soccer, I decided to try spring track. I ended up having a knack for running and ultimately, by the end of my high school career, I was deciding whether I wanted to run in college or swim. I remember looking at schools where I could potentially do both, but ultimately I decided that I had to focus on one if I was going to be successful. Thus, I went to Syracuse University and ran for the next 5 years. It was the best decision I had made in life and a decision I definitely will never regret.
Last week a new option became available to young women choosing colleges. It is an opportunity that I never had. Triathlon has been cleared as a NCAA Division I emerging sport for women. Starting next year, varsity programs will be initiated in schools across the country. Now girls who have grown up doing triathlon or girls who have a background similar to mine won’t have to choose just one discipline to focus on in college. They will be able to compete in triathlon throughout college. They will continue to refine their skills and get them ready for their post collegiate careers. Not to mention, the chance to continue doing all the sports they love rather than choosing one!
As a college graduate and professional triathlete, I see this movement as an amazing opportunity for our sport to grow. The first race I ever qualified for my elite license was at the Nickel City Triathlon in Buffalo, NY. That same weekend, at the same venue, the USAT Elite Nationals race was held. It was sad how few spectators had come out to watch the race. That race consisted of the best triathletes in our country including Olympians! The lack of hype that surrounded this style of racing was disappointing. This was the same style of racing that I have fell in love with this past year during my first year as a professional triathlete focusing on the ITU/draft legal racing style. There is a speed, intensity and strategy that make ITU racing exhilarating, challenging and most of all fun!
When I traveled to Europe I discovered what was missing in the USA. Crowds of people were lined up at all the races. There was support and excitement that was lacking at home. People want your autographs and pictures. The race itself is a big deal with celebrations leading up to the race and continuing after the race. Most importantly, on race day crowds of people are there supporting not only their fellow countrymen (and women), but also every other athlete in the race. It is truly an incredible experience.
This is something that I would love to experience when racing at home. By adding triathlon as a DI sport, I feel our country has taken a gigantic step towards increasing the popularity of triathlon. Not only will this make racing on home soil more exciting, it will also help the US in its quest to become an international triathlon powerhouse. With increased popularity and support, the triathlon field is going to become larger and stronger in the United States. As the competition within the United States becomes fiercer, we will be able to take on some of the more dominating countries in triathlon. I am so excited to be competing in triathlon in the US at a time when it is experiencing such a reform. I can’t wait to continue to be a part of its growth and look forward to all the positive effects that are going to come from its inclusion in NCAA athletics!"