Host City: IOC president Thomas Bach recently praised your leadership of the International Triathlon Union (ITU), particularly in relation to good governance. How would you describe your leadership priorities in this area?
Marisol Casado: Any self-respecting organization should be judged by its governance policies, its commitment to operational transparency and the way that it is run and operates, both in the long and short-term.
My priorities are to ensure that the entire triathlon family adheres to that commitment and that ITU as an organization serves our athletes and National Federations fairly, openly and justly, so that we can rightfully expect the same consideration from them. It is our duty as a world governing body to set the example.
Thomas Bach was absolutely correct when he said at our recent Congress that you can be 99 per cent solid in how you are run, but if that 1 per cent lets you down, then that is what you will be remembered by. We strive for good governance across the board and have found that as a positive habit and a priority to share and to follow with our members, it is contagious.
Host City: How do you see recent and future progress in the prominence of women in sport and sports administration?
Marisol Casado: This is an ongoing battle, but one that continues to provide new examples of thriving individuals to show we are on the right track and have every reason to be optimistic about the future.
If you look back just 20 years you can see how much progress has been made towards gender equity, even though there is of course still much work to be done. But I am proud to say that our sport can certainly be held up as an example of this effort, where men and women share equal prize money, prominence and every drop of the spotlight.
The fact that Tokyo 2020 will bring us to the brink of gender equality both in terms of the overall athletes and officials’ ratios is testament to the effectiveness of the IOC Agenda 2020.
Host City: As a member of the IOC Coordination Commission for the Games of the XXXIII Olympiad in Paris 2024, what are your expectations of these Games?
Marisol Casado: Paris is one of the world’s great cities and will provide the kind of Olympic and Paralympic venues that have an innate wow factor and that, coupled with an expert LOC looking to innovate and engage more than ever, will see it undoubtedly deliver a truly great Games. During our Coordination Commission visit in June we saw first-hand the commitment to a sustainable Games that will bring the people together both for mass-participation events and the legacy projects that will benefit France and the French public for years to come.
Host City: How is the ITU leading the way and innovating to ensure the continued rise in popularity of triathlon – both for participants and fans?
Marisol Casado: ITU seeks out and works with incredible local organising committees (LOCs) all around the world to stage events that are not only able to bring the very best out of the elite athletes but that, in many cases, are also opened up to the public to take part in, through Age-Group races and family events.
This mass participation aspect has always been an integral part of this sport; that it demands a high level of endurance and determination, but that it also manages to not be overly intimidating to those coming new to it.
The fact that we are a relatively young sport also helps and we reflect that as a dynamic, forward-thinking organization working effectively with incredible partners to promote and govern a growing, aspirational sport.
It is also filled with amazing role models. From the World Series to World Cups and beyond, their incredible achievements and the manner of their performances have always brought them closer to the fans and been a source of encouragement to newcomers. That means our development of the TriathlonLIVE streaming platform and huge social media presence can be backed up by not just their big-race performances but honest, revealing interviews and features that really convey their personalities.
We all do what we do for the love of triathlon, so the hard work never feels too much like hard work. I think that is important.
Host City: We are delighted you will be speaking at Host City 2019, with the conference theme “Innovate; Reformulate; Co-create”. What are your expectations of this important gathering?
Marisol Casado: Thank you, I’m very happy to be able to attend and honoured to have been asked to speak at the event. ITU is privileged to have worked with some incredible host cities over the past thirty years as triathlon’s world governing body, delivering iconic race venues all around the world.
Now, with our TriathlonLIVE platform showing more races than ever to ever-growing audiences in tandem with ITU social media channels, those host cities are also able to reach vast new horizons, so I think it is important that these kinds of opportunities are made explicit.
The benefits for cities are rich and varied, from engaging the population in healthy pursuits and the positive association and inspiration of hosting world-class sports, to boosts for tourism, infrastructure and experience. We have seen time and time again that working closely with cities brings enormous mutual benefits and that is the message that I hope will be underpinning the conference.
Marisol Casado is speaking at Host City 2019, the largest meeting of cities and sports, business and cultural events, taking place in Glasgow on 26-27 November