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We’re one year out from the 2024 Paris Olympic and Paralympic Games, and things are about to get really exciting, really fast. The next few months will be by far the most thrilling part of draft-legal short-course racing, as dreams will come true, hearts will be broken, and—with the increased attention on the sport—we’ll get to know the athletes a little bit better. As thrilling as it all will be, the qualification process can also be very confusing. Here’s everything you need to know about how U.S. athletes will earn their spots on the Paris Olympic and Paralympic triathlon starting lines.
When are the Paris 2024 triathlon races?
The Olympic triathlon competition at Paris 2024 will take place over three days: July 30, July 31, and August 5, 2024. At the Paralympic Games, paratriathlon events will be held September 1-2.
How many athletes get to go?
Per World Triathlon standards, the Paris 2024 Olympic triathlon races will have a total of 110 spots (55 men and 55 women). The maximum spots any country can earn is three men and three women for a total of six. To earn the maximum three spots for a gender, a country must have three athletes within the top 30 places of the World Triathlon Individual Olympic Qualification Rankings as of May 27, 2024. For the Tokyo 2020 Games, the U.S. sent three women and two men.
Ten national teams will also get to race in the mixed relay event.
The Paris 2024 Paralympic triathlon race slots will be broken down into 54 men (18 more than in Tokyo), 50 women (14 more than in Tokyo) and another 18 spots for invitations, with no gender pre-determined, in the following classifications:
For all Medal Events except Women’s PTS4, a country can enter a maximum of (2) eligible athletes per medal event. For the Women’s PTS4 Medal Event, a country can enter a maximum of two (2) athletes from sport class PTS4 and one (1) athlete from sport class PTS3.
In addition, there will be 18 bipartite invitation slots offered to specific athletes, worldwide, by World Triathlon after the closing of the Paralympic Games qualifying points window. U.S. athletes may receive a bipartite invitation(s), but this is separate from the way that quota spots in each sport class are filled (e.g., the athletes added via bipartite invitations would be in addition to the country quota spots already filled via USA Triathlon’s selection criteria).
For more on paratriathlon, check out What is Paratriathlon? Understanding Triathlon in the Paralympics.
How U.S. athletes will qualify for 2024 Paris Olympic triathlon
There will be three automatic selection events in 2023 and 2024 for individual triathlon:
Automatic Selection Event No. 1
2023 World Triathlon Olympic Test Event in Paris
Aug. 17-20, 2023
In Paris, the first two athletes (per gender) that finish in the top three will earn automatic qualification. If only one American finishes in the top three, the next-best athlete that finishes in the top eight will also be picked (i.e., the first. U.S. athlete places third, the next athlete places sixth – both athletes auto-qualify). If no athlete reaches podium at Paris Test Event, then the best finisher in the top eight will auto-qualify. If no athlete finishes in the top eight then no athlete will auto-qualify in Paris.
Automatic Selection Event No. 2
2023 World Triathlon Championship Finals Pontevedra
Sept. 20-24, 2023
The first athlete to finish in the top three, who has not already qualified for the team via the Paris test event (above) will earn automatic selection, up to one athlete per gender. If no athlete finishes in the top-3 at Championship Finals, then no athlete will auto-qualify in Pontevedra.
Automatic Selection Event No. 3
A TBD Olympic-distance World Triathlon Championship Series event
Held after March 1, 2024
If quota spots remain, then the first athlete to finish in the top three, who has not already qualified, will earn automatic selection (up to one athlete per gender). If no athlete has earned automatic selection at the first two selection events, then the top two athletes to finish in this third event will earn automatic selection (up to two athletes per gender). If quota spots remain, and if no athlete has earned automatic selection at any of the three selection events, then the highest placed athlete finishing within the top eight at this race will earn automatic selection to the team. Only one athlete will be selected by this protocol, and all remaining open spots will be filled by discretionary selection (described below).
Any remaining team spots will be filled by the Olympic Games Athlete Selection Panel via Discretionary Selection. The panel will consider athletes who can achieve or contribute to a podium result in the individual event and/or to the mixed relay event.
Performance guidelines that will be considered include performances at WTCS and World Cup races, performance in Super Sprint races, recency of performance, course profile, team composition and team strategy.
Teams can earn their spot in the triathlon mixed relay through a variety of routes:
- As the host country of the Games, France locked in their spot for the mixed relay triathlon automatically.
- Great Britain and the United States secured their spots by placing at the 2022 World Triathlon Mixed Relay Championships in Montreal.
- Germany locked in their place by winning the 2023 World Triathlon Mixed Relay Championships in Hamburg.
- On March 25, 2024, the six highest-ranked national teams remaining will be assigned spots for the Games, according to criteria outlined by World Triathlon.
- The two highest-ranked national teams from an TBD mixed relay event in April or May of 2024 will also earn spots to the Games.
How U.S. athletes will qualify for 2024 Paris Paralympic triathlon
The U.S. Paralympic Triathlon Team is selected via performances at three key selection events:
Selection Event No. 1
World Triathlon Para Cup Paris
August 17-20, 2023
Selection Event No. 2
2023 World Triathlon Para Championships Pontevedra
September 23-24, 2023
Selection Event No. 3
2024 Americas Triathlon Para Championships
TBD: March 1, 2024 through June 25, 2024
Athletes will be nominated to the Team in their respective classifications based on the following criteria, which are in priority order:
- An athlete who wins both Selection Event #1 and #2 will be nominated to the team
- If no athletes win Selection Event #1 and #2, up to one athlete who places in the Top 2 of Selection Events #1 or #2 will be nominated to the team
- If slot(s) remain, an athlete not already nominated to the team who wins Selection Event #3 will be nominated to the team.
If slot(s) remain, the selection panel may utilize discretion to fill up to one remaining spot per medal event from a pool of athletes that have finished in the top 3 in one of the following events from March 1, 2023, to July 1, 2024:
- Selection Event #1
- Selection Event #2
- World Triathlon Para Series (WTPS)
- World Triathlon World Cup races
- Americas Triathlon Para Championships
If slot(s) remain, athletes not already nominated to the team will be nominated to the Team in order of their ranking on the Paralympic Qualification ranking list as of July 1, 2024 until all slots are filled.
Who to watch
The U.S. Olympic and Paralympic teams are shaping up to be some of the best yet. To help you get to know the athletes better, we’ve put together our ultimate guide to the Olympic and Paralympic contenders for the United States. The bottom line? It’s about to get exciting! If you’ve never followed World Triathlon, now is a great time to start. Put the Paris test event on your calendar and tune in at Triathlonlive.tv. As we gear up for the Games, we’ll have even more coverage on the contenders and the races – get excited for an amazing year of short-course racing.