Triathlon’s mixed relay is making its debut at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, and Thursday is the first time teams can start racking up qualifying points to get to the world’s biggest sports stage (more on the complicated qualification system here). Here’s what you need to know about the event:
*Seventy-two of the world’s top triathletes are in Nottingham, England for the launch of the World Triathlon Mixed Relay Series. The start list features 18 teams with all athletes vying for key points toward 2020 Tokyo Olympic qualification.
*Nottingham is the first stop of the new series, followed by the ITU Mixed Relay World Championships in Hamburg, Germany, on July 15. The series finale will be held in Edmonton, Canada, on July 28.
*Teams have until up to two hours before the race start to announce their final squad lineups, which leads to the first strategic battle of the day with some countries announcing their athletes well in advance, while others prefer to wait until the last minute.
*USA Triathlon announced its athletes one by one on social media, with Kirsten Kasper, Eli Hemming, Katie Zaferes, and Matthew McEllroy earning the four spots. Getting that start is key, as doing well in these mixed relay events could prove an athlete worthy of a discretionary spot on the U.S. Olympic team.
*Undoubtedly one of the strongest teams will be hosts Great Britain, with the preliminary squad featuring two Olympic medal winners in Jonathan Brownlee and Vicky Holland, along with former ITU world champion Non Stanford and ITU World Triathlon Series medalist Tom Bishop.
*Also vying for podium spots will be the recently crowned Commonwealth Games champions, Australia. The current world champions certainly know how to compete in a relay, and the Aussie team has amassed more medal finishes than any other country in the Mixed Relay history, including last year’s world title.
*ITU’s Triathlon Mixed Relay format is racing at its most exciting, where the individual sport combines with a team mentality. The format works like this: two men and two women from the same country each complete a 300m swim, 6.6km bike, and 1.5km run, before tagging their teammate in a female–male–female–male pattern.
“We are thrilled to finally host the first Mixed Relay Series here in Nottingham, as the kick off for this amazing event to be in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.” said Marisol Casado, ITU President and IOC member. “The style of race, coupled with the gender mix, bring a whole new element to our sport that the crowds here, and the next stages in Hamburg and Edmonton, as well as those watching around the world, will love.”
How to Watch
The race is set to begin on Thursday, June 7, at 10:36 a.m. PT/1:36 p.m. ET (6:36 p.m. local time), and fans can follow the action live at Triathlonlive.tv.
Team United States
Marco Van Der Stel
Jorik Van Egdom
Team Great Britain
Pierre Le Corre
Team South Africa
Team New Zealand
Nicole Van Der Kaay
Anna Godoy Contreras
Francesc Godoy Contreras
Sara Perez Sala
Antonio Benito Lopez
Alberte Kjær Pedersen