Rocky Harris has been appointed chief of sport and athlete services at the USOPC after five years as chief executive at USA Triathlon ©USA Triathlon

Rocky Harris has been announced as the new chief of sport and athlete services for the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC).

The role has been created by the USOPC to oversee the Olympic and Paralympic sport programme, national governing body (NGB) services, sport operations and collegiate partnerships.

Harris joins the USOPC from USA Triathlon where he held the role as chief executive for five years and was responsible for implementing the organisation’s first-ever elite athlete service programme to provide career, education and wellness resources.

He also launched Project Podium, which aims to develop top young male elite athletes to become Olympic medal contenders while allowing them to get an education from Arizona State University.

The US also enjoyed plenty of triathlon success under his leadership, claiming seven medals across the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics.

"Throughout the search process, Rocky distinguished himself as a leader in the field of athlete support, NGB operations and collegiate partnerships and, through his experience, has proven that he is well positioned to help build the most comprehensive human performance program in our organization’s history," said USOPC chief executive Sarah Hirshland.

"He’s an ardent champion for both the Olympic and Paralympic movements and has a record of building programs that support athletes holistically.

"This is an exciting time for Team USA."

Harris has been tasked by the USOPC with "optimising sport performance and athlete well-being to ensure the US is positioned for success".

Brad Snyder, who captained USA to Para triathlon gold at Tokyo 2020, welcomed the appointment of Rocky Harris ©Getty Images
Brad Snyder, who captained USA to Para triathlon gold at Tokyo 2020, welcomed the appointment of Rocky Harris ©Getty Images

He is expected to lead teams designed to support athletes, training centres, safety and security programmes, sports medicine and operations and logistics for US participation at the Olympic, Paralympic, Pan American, Parapan American and Youth Olympic Games.

"I am honoured to take on this important role and bring my experience in the Olympic and Paralympic movements, collegiate athletics and professional sports, and my passion for helping Team USA athletes achieve greatness to the USOPC," said Harris.

"NGBs play a vital role in both identifying, developing and supporting athletes and growing sport in the United States, and the responsibility to take an active role in working across summer and winter NGBs, including our internal Paralympic NGBs, is not a charge I take lightly.

"We have an incredible opportunity ahead of us on the road to Paris [2024], Milan Cortina [2026] and then a home Games in Los Angeles [in 2028], and I can’t wait to get to work with the USOPC team - a group that is as passionate, dedicated and proficient as any in the world - and our NGB partners to ensure Team USA athletes are fully successful and fully supported."

Harris is set to join the USOPC in early September where he will be based in Colorado Springs.

US Paralympic triathlon champion Brad Snyder said he was delighted that Harris had been appointed into what he described as a "critically important position".

"I have seen first-hand, and have benefited directly from, Rocky's care for athletes, passion for sport excellence, and tireless work ethic," said Snyder.

"I have immense respect for Rocky and I'm thrilled that the entirety of Team USA will be able to benefit from his exceptional leadership."