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Morgan Pearson has gone from the Paris Test Event waitlist to the first member named to the men’s U.S. Olympic Team in short order with his sixth-place finish.
Pearson, who has dealt with injuries and illness this season, was left off the original start list in Paris due to his low World Triathlon ranking. The day before the race, however, he rolled onto the start list after Australia’s Mathew Hauser and Canada’s Charles Paquet fell ill.
Pearson made the most of the opportunity, clocking an 18:42 swim, 52:11 bike, and 29:18 run to finish sixth in 1:41:23, only 21 seconds off race winner Alex Yee.
Per USA Triathlon qualifying standards (which we explain here) the first American in the top eight at the Paris test event auto-qualifies. Pearson’s sixth-place finish was the only male American performance to meet qualifying standards for Team USA; he joins Taylor Knibb, who secured her spot yesterday in the women’s race.
The remaining athletes representing the United States were Matt McElroy (14th place), Seth Rider (26th), Darr Smith (45th), and Chase McQueen (50th). They will have another chance to secure their spot at two more events: September’s World Triathlon Championship Finals in Pontevedra, Spain and a yet-to-be announced event in March 2024.
“We’re absolutely thrilled for Morgan,” said USA Triathlon CEO Victoria Brumfield. “He displayed a passionate, determined performance in Paris today against the world’s best elite triathletes. His U.S. Olympic Team spot is well deserved and we can’t wait to watch him race on the world’s biggest stage in Paris in 2024.”
While Knibb and Pearson have both been named to the U.S. squad, the United States must still earn individual country slots during the upcoming Olympic qualification period. Traditionally the women have earned the maximum of three slots, while the men have recently only earned two spots in Tokyo 2021 and in London in 2012.
Two more days of racing remain for the Paris test event, featuring qualifying events for the Paralympics, which does not use an auto-qualification process but instead nominates athletes based on their performance in three races, starting with Paris.