Saucony Athlete Groff named 2011 Elite Athlete of the Year

Olympics-bound Sarah Groff became the first American athlete to earn a podium finish at the end of the International Triathlon Union (ITU) World Championships Series

LEXINGTON, MA (March 8, 2012) – Global performance running footwear and apparel brand Saucony, Inc., is proud to announce that 2012 Olympian and Saucony athlete Sarah Groff was named 2011 Elite Athlete of the Year by the USA Triathlon Athlete Advisory Council (AAC). Groff, who qualified for the 2012 U.S. Olympic Triathlon Team with her seventh-place finish at the 2011 London World Championship Series, earned “Olympic/ITU Athlete of the Year” accolades from the ACC.

After being slowed by injury for much of 2010, Groff became the first-ever U.S. athlete to earn a spot on the series podium in the three-year history of the ITU World Championship Series (WCS), earning a bronze medal in 2011. In addition to qualifying for the 2012 Olympic Games, Groff added a third-place finish in Kitzbühel, Austria, and she totaled four top-seven WCS finishes in the past year.

“The whole Saucony team congratulates Sarah for this well-deserved honor,” said Mark Bossardet, vice president of sports marketing for Saucony. “Sarah is probably one of our toughest athletes. Making the U.S. Olympic team with such a confident and bold race from the front is a testament to her strong will and competitive spirit. We'll be supporting her every step of the way in London as she pursues her dream.”

Groff, 30, of Hanover, New Hampshire, trains in Canberra, Australia in the winter and Davos, Switzerland in the summer under world-renowned coach Darren Smith. She graduated Cum Laude from Middlebury College in 2004, swimming for four years as a freestyler and earning All-New England Small College Athletic Conference and All-America honors.

Groff trains in the Saucony Kinvara 2, the industry's leading minimal shoe, and races in the Type A5, Saucony's lightest neutral racing flat.

Saucony, Inc.: Saucony, Inc., a subsidiary of Collective Brands, Inc, is a leading global running lifestyle brand that fuses performance, innovation and style to create compelling footwear and apparel with its widely recognized brands Saucony and Saucony Originals. Founded in 1898, Saucony continues to inspire runners everywhere with its award winning innovations, including ProGridâ„¢, PowerGridâ„¢ and ViZiPROâ„¢ apparel. For more information, go to

Collective Brands, Inc. (NYSE: PSS) is a leader in bringing compelling lifestyle, fashion and performance brands for footwear and related accessories to consumers worldwide. The company operates three strategic units covering a powerful brand portfolio, as well as multiple price points and selling channels including retail, wholesale, ecommerce and licensing. Collective Brands, Inc. includes Payless ShoeSource, focused on democratizing fashion and design in footwear and accessories through its nearly 4,500-store retail chain, with its brands Airwalk®, Dexter® and Champion® and designer collections by fashion designers Christian Siriano, Lela Rose, Isabel Toledo and Silvia Tcherassi; Collective Brands Performance + Lifestyle Group, focused on lifestyle and performance branded footwear and high-quality children's footwear sold primarily through wholesaling, with its brands including Stride Rite®, Keds®, Sperry Top-Sider® Robeez®, and Saucony®, among others; and Collective Licensing International, the brand development, management and global licensing unit, with such youth lifestyle brands as Airwalk®, Above The Rim®, Vision Street Wear®, STRIKEFORCE™, Clinch Gear™, Sims®, Lamar® and LTD®, each of the Collective Brand's units can be found at