Minneapolis/St. Paul – Jan. 7, 2020 – Team USA Minnesota – which was founded in 2001 -  has changed its name to Minnesota Distance Elite as of Jan. 1, 2020.  The change was requested by the United States Olympic Committee (USOC), which informed the long-time training group this past year that it could no longer use the words ‘Team USA’ in its name.
 Under the Ted Stevens Olympic and Amateur Sports Act of 1998, the term Team USA is considered to be a trademark protected under the act, along with the Olympic symbol, the words Olympic and Olympiad.
 
Team USA Minnesota was established some 20 years ago by founder Patricia Goodwin as part of a Team USA Distance Running program formed by Running USA, a national trade organization of road races, and USA Track & Field, the governing body of the sport.  It was the fourth training center designated at the time that included other Team USA groups such as Team USA California in Mammoth.  All other training groups using Team USA in its name over the years have either disbanded or changed their name for various reasons.
 
“As one of the first athletes to join the Team USA Minnesota training group based in Minneapolis/St. Paul back in the spring of 2001, it was a great concept to enable distance runners to take the next step to pursue a post-collegiate running career,” said Chris Lundstrom, who has been the training group’s coach the past four years.
 
“I was surprised to get the call from the USOC telling us we could no longer use the ‘Team USA’ name since we had been using it for so many years.  But our group decided to view this as an opportunity to rebrand ourselves during an Olympic year.  We have a great group of 13 athletes on our current team who look forward to competing under the Minnesota Distance Elite name.”
 
To date, Team USA Minnesota – now Minnesota Distance Elite – has developed an Olympian, 24 national champions in events that include the 1500m, mile, 3000m, 10,000m and 10k road, 15k, 10 mile, half marathon, 20k, 25k and marathon along with 4k, 6k, 8k and 10k cross country plus a NACAC cross country champion.  For 2020, the training group has qualified seven runners for the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials in Atlanta, and will be focused on preparing additional athletes on the team for the U.S. Olympic Track Trials in Eugene.
 
About Minnesota Distance Elite
Minnesota Distance Elite – previously known as Team USA Minnesota – is based in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis/St. Paul.  Founded in 2001, the purpose of the training group is to improve the competitiveness of post-collegiate American distance runners and to develop Olympians.  The athletes are coached by Chris Lundstrom.  Team USA Minnesota’s major sponsors include Twin Cities Orthopedics, Twin Cities In Motion, and the Houston Marathon Foundation.  Additional sponsors include Life Time Run, Grandma’s Marathon and TC Running Company.  The new logo was designed pro bono by MarketingLab.  For more information, visit www.teamusaminnesota.org.