a long course athlete doing a 70.3 or Ironman who gets a mechanical that puts them out of the money?
If you've followed ITU and US athletes long enough, USAT recently changed this policy for reimbursement and personally, i think its a very good policy. Athletes who are being funded by USAT (some national team status) should have pressure placed on them to deliver results, its what makes them good. USAT gets funding from IOC, and when results dont come in, IOC doesnt give USAT money. We have seen athletes in the past abuse this who would constantly drop out of races and USAT pays the bill?
If the athlete is younger and racing for a 40th place... IMO they shouldn't be at WTS races. Thats just poor development. Racing up too quickly is the best way to break and bankrupt athletes.
I don't want to turn this into an ITU vs. long-course debate and how there is a lot more money in long-course racing, etc.; I am well aware of that, but with the WTS getting an NBC deal and the Olympic cycle kicking into full gear, I'm still convinced that there are ways to unlock more value for ITU racers. Guys like Ben Kanute have had to add 70.3s into their annual schedule, both because they can get a lot more prize money but sponsors also prefer seeing their product at the front of those longer races with big age group fields. I think it's also very dangerous how USAT does a reimbursement policy for ITU races as opposed to covering costs upfront; currently you have to get top 15 at a WTS race to get reimbursed by USAT, and that creates a tremendous amount of pressure on young athletes who are already struggling to get by. You had a mechanical incident on the bike in Yokohama? Well, guess you won't get reimbursed for that $2,000 flight/hotel/meal combo. But I think that's a separate discussion.
Inside The Big Ring Podcast, Interviews with Ironman Champions, Kona Qualifiers, and Training Tips