USAT (USA Triathlon) ranks their athletes every year. Go here to find the rankings page.
In order to be ranked, triathletes must:
1.) Be a member of USAT
2.) Complete 3 races in a calendar year.
If a triathlete is a member but did not complete 3 races, they will show up in the "unranked" section. Their races will still be scored, but they won't be officially ranked.
If a triathlete is not a member and completed +3 races, they will not be ranked. (If you're doing +3 races, it makes sense to be a member).
Every time I race, I get a score.
At the end of the year (technically calculations are done in Feb of the following year), rankings are finalized. Athletes in the top 10% are given the honor of "All American".
Your rankings can change year to year. If you do a new distance or you age up, your ranking will change. OR, if you only do one race, you won't even have a ranking. Other people age up and out, and that changes the competition. In other words, a drastic change in ranking isn't unusual.
Still, I've always wanted to be All American.
From 2009-2011, I had no ranking.
In 2012, I was ranked 812 with a score of 72.583
2013: I was 676 with a score of 74.442
2014: I was 587 with a score of 76.967
2015: I was 510 with a score of 78.871
This year: my score is 82.72, and I still have one race left. This is the biggest jump I've ever made. I won't make All American this year, but I'm ranked higher than I have ever been at this time of year.
One of these years, I will make the top 10%.
I love this. Expect to see it often.