USA Triathlon today announced that its Project Podium men’s elite development squad has partnered with Intermountain Healthcare in Park City, Utah, for sports performance and sports medicine services.
Project Podium is a program designed by USA Triathlon to train top young male triathletes to achieve medal performances in international competition and, ultimately, the Olympic Games. The squad, which is normally based at Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona, is spending time in Park City this summer for an extended training block at Utah Olympic Park.
Project Podium enables college-aged triathletes with significant competitive potential to train in a daily high-performance environment while earning an undergraduate degree. Led by Parker Spencer, a USA Triathlon Level II Certified Coach, the roster currently includes Austin Hindman (Wildwood, Mo.), Chase McQueen (Columbus, Ind.), Drew Shellenberger (Indianapolis, Ind.) and Darr Smith (Atlanta, Ga.).
During a typical triathlon season, athletes on Project Podium travel the world to compete in elite races on the International Triathlon Union (ITU) circuit. With the ITU racing season suspended due to COVID-19, the team has adjusted their training process and goals for the months ahead.
"Normally, during the summer, we're racing all over the world, but given the circumstances with COVID-19, races are canceled,” Spencer said. “We were looking for a temporary home base to train, and the Utah Olympic Park and Park City Hospital came highly recommended. The altitude training is key, and Park City is an ideal location that provides world-class triathlon training. At Park City Hospital, we have access to everything from recovery components to sports performance to sports medicine.”
While the athletes have not been able to gain racing experience this season, Parker said there have been benefits to spending an extended training block as a squad.
"The team comradery is at a level I've never seen before," Spencer said. "Because of COVID, we're just all in this together. Since we're not competing, we’re able to use our teammates to gauge our successes and motivate each other more than ever.”
The team’s training in Park City will be enhanced by one-on-one consultations with the sports performance team at Intermountain Park City Hospital — including sports medicine physicians and physical therapists as well as certified athletic trainers, accredited sports dietitians, exercise physiologists and performance coaches.
The physicians and physical therapists at Intermountain Healthcare help ensure athletes stay healthy throughout their training — evaluating injuries that arise and helping athletes increase their strength and fitness to avoid injuries in the first place.
"By utilizing the team approach, we can assess and manage injuries, but also devote a great deal of time to preventing those injuries through proper warm-ups, customized workouts, proper nutrition and time spent focusing on recovery," said Marlene Hatch, sports medicine manager at Park City Hospital. Hatch and her team provide therapy to many local winter Olympians and professional athletes as well as everyday athletes of all abilities.
"I love seeing the data, and the science behind the training is incredible,” McQueen, a two-time ITU Junior World Championships competitor, said. “Working with the Intermountain team has helped me dial into my cycling to better understand how I train at altitude, how I adapt, and what is different when I return to training and competing at sea level.”
For more information about the sports performance team at Intermountain Healthcare, visit intermountainhealthcare.org/locations/park-city-hospital/medical-services/sports-medicine/. To learn more about Project Podium, visit teamusa.org/usa-triathlon/elite/project-podium.
About Intermountain Healthcare Intermountain Healthcare is a not-for-profit system of 24 hospitals, 215 clinics, a Medical Group with 2,500 employed physicians and advanced practice clinicians, a health insurance company called SelectHealth, and other health services in Idaho, Utah, and Nevada. Intermountain is widely recognized as a leader in transforming healthcare by using evidence-based best practices to consistently deliver high-quality outcomes and sustainable costs.
About USA Triathlon USA Triathlon is proud to serve as the National Governing Body for triathlon, as well as duathlon, aquathlon, aquabike, winter triathlon, off-road triathlon and paratriathlon in the United States. Founded in 1982, USA Triathlon sanctions more than 4,300 events and connects with more than 400,000 members each year, making it the largest multisport organization in the world. In addition to its work at the grassroots level with athletes, coaches, and race directors – as well as the USA Triathlon Foundation – USA Triathlon provides leadership and support to elite athletes competing at international events, including International Triathlon Union (ITU) World Championships, Pan American Games and the Olympic and Paralympic Games. USA Triathlon is a proud member of the ITU and the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee (USOPC).