The PTO exists to celebrate everything about the sport of Triathlon we all love so much.
What is the PTO?
The PTO is the Professional Triathletes Organisation. It is a not-for-profit entity consisting of non-drafting professional triathletes who have come together to promote and contribute to the triathlon community and celebrate the sport we all love so much. It is modelled on the PGA/LGPA organisations in golf or the ATP/WTA organisations in tennis. A professional representative body is the natural evolution for sport, and the PTO’s time has now arrived for the sport of triathlon. With its investment partner, Crankstart Investments, the PTO is now able to contribute its resources and the collective voice of professional triathletes to helping our sport grow and thrive. It is an honour for the PTO to join our tremendous Triathlon Community and we are so excited to work with all the wonderful stakeholders in the sport.
How did the PTO get formed?
Good Question!!! As Jerry Garcia might say, “What a long strange trip it’s been!” First, it is important to note that the PTO and today’s professional triathletes owe an enormous debt to all the great athletes whose blood, sweat, and yes, tears have, over the last 40 years, paved the way for the PTO and The Collins Cup to become a reality. Impossible to name all of them here, but athletes like Erin Baker, Dave Scott, Paula Newby-Fraser and Mark Allen established standards of performance that are still incomprehensible and would forever drive all triathletes, amateur and professional alike, to challenge limits thought impossible. It all began with their inspirational careers that said, “Nothing is Impossible!”
OK, we got that bit, but what about the Athletes today and the PTO?
The PTO began to take form in late 2014 when a group of athletes met and thought to establish an organisation so that they might be able to contribute a voice to the triathlon community. At that time, the athletes were keen to see how best to grow the sport but given their geographical dispersed locations and limited time availability, it was difficult to get a lot of traction, so the organisation seemed to fizzle out a bit. It was kept alive by a small number of athletes who continued to volunteer their time and scratch their heads to try to figure out a way for the PTO to become an economic reality.
So, it took four years of Head Scratching to get the PTO off the ground?
Yes, pretty much. I guess we exemplified the famous motto of the US Marines, “The difficult we do immediately. The impossible takes a little while longer.” It is safe to say that there were those who said it would never happen and that it was impossible to get a bunch of self-driven individual professional triathletes to be part of a single organisation and agree on anything. We were told that it has all been tried before and that we were wasting our time. Thankfully, we were blessed with a number of advisors from outside the sport who were just too naïve to believe this and, like Julie Moss, despite many setbacks and false starts along the way, would not give up and continued to look for a way to realise the athletes’ vision of self-determination and an organisation of their own. That vision is now a reality as a result of the PTO’s partnership with Crankstart Investments and Michael Moritz. You will have to wait for the book and the film release to learn about all the exact twists and turns that were taken before we arrived, but it is no accident that the PTO’s Motto is “Dum Spiro, Spero—Whilst I Breathe, I Hope.”
What is the mission of the PTO?
Our mission is simple: To Celebrate the Sport of Triathlon. We seek to showcase the passion, talents, determination, struggles and achievements of the dedicated professionals who seek to realise the highest levels of the sport and inspire all those who participate in triathlon and be a valued member in the Triathlon Community.
What will this look like in the Triathlon Community?
Our PTO Members are ambassadors in the Triathlon Community, actively promoting the sport and sharing their passions, insights, struggles, accomplishments, failures and all the crazy and beautiful moments that make our sport so singularly wonderful. We want to see our sport grow and we want to support and help all the race organisers, from the large international companies to the small local organisers, the governing bodies, the local tri clubs, the media, the sponsors, the volunteers–everybody really, who loves the sport as much as we do.
Can you explain how the partnership with Crankstart Investments works?
Our partnership with Crankstart Investments is one that is unique in professional sport in that the PTO and the Crankstart Investments share equally in all profits from the commercial operation of the PTO. Essentially, it would be like the players of Manchester United getting their salaries plus 50% of all of the team’s profits. Crankstart sees professional athletes as an asset to be invested in, not just an expense item. The spread of the internet, the rise in the number of media outlets thirsty for top-notch sporting content, combined with the latest production techniques now make it possible to bring to international audiences the extraordinary accomplishments of today’s highest performing athletes – our PTO Members. A major part of the attraction of the PTO as an investment is that, unlike every other sport, men and women compete for equal prize money and the athletes are co-owners of the business. This means that all participants will share, on an equal footing, in the PTO’s collective success – a recipe that is a mainstay of the Silicon Valley investment model.
What is the PTO World Rankings™ system and how does it work?
The PTO World Rankings™ System is an objective system to identify the finest triathletes in the world who are best qualified to represent their team in The Collins Cup. Click here for PTO World Rankings™ protocol.
What is next?
The PTO is focused on making The Collins Cup a huge success – enjoyable to all who participate and a springboard to help the sport grow and assume its place alongside other major sports. For the PTO it is just the beginning as we embark on an exciting journey. Our sport has been blessed with so much history and so many fantastic people. It has grown from humble origins 40 years ago into the exciting sport it is today. This type of growth is not without some growing pains, but we are all part of a community that is greater than ourselves and if we are all patient with each other we can achieve great things. As our motto states: Dum Spiro, Spero (Whilst I Breathe, I Hope.) We are still breathing and hoping!