Taylor Knibb Earns Spot for Paris 2024 U.S. Olympic Team

The reigning 70.3 world champion and 2020 Olympian becomes the first American to automatically qualify for the U.S. Olympic team with a fifth-place finish at the Paris test event.

Photo: Janos M. Schmidt/World Triathlon

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With a fifth-place finish at Thursday’s Paris test event triathlon, Taylor Knibb has earned a spot on the U.S. 2024 Olympic team.

After fighting back from 21st place out of the swim to work her way into 23rd place out of T2, Knibb unleashed a turbo-charged 33:12 10K split to push into the front, clocking the third-fastest run split of the day and beating fellow Americans Taylor Spivey (10th place), Katie Zaferes, (12th), Kirsten Kasper (15th), and Summer Rappaport (16th).

Knibb Paris Test Event
Taylor Knibb pushes the pace to bridge the gap out of the swim at the Paris Test Event. (Photo: Janos M. Schmidt/World Triathlon)

Knibb’s fifth-place finish automatically locks in her spot for the 2024 Olympics. Per USA Triathlon qualifying standards (which we explain here) the first American in the top eight at the Paris test event auto-qualifies. The remaining American athletes 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.

“The athletes and coaches are taking away valuable learnings about the course and the venue in preparation for what will be an iconic Games in less than one year from now,” said Scott Schnitzspahn, USA Triathlon High Performance General Manager, of the Paris test event. “Taylor Knibb showed that she will be a threat for an individual medal in 2024 by meeting the high standard of the Team USA automatic qualification criteria. Having a whole year to prepare is a huge advantage.”

Though Knibb has earned a spot on the U.S. Olympic squad, the Americans must still earn country slots at the end of the Olympic Qualification period in 2024. Historically, given the strength of their female athletes, the American women have secured three country slots at all of the previous Olympic Games, so her appearance in Paris is all but guaranteed, pending USAT approval.

“The elite women’s race at the Olympic Games Test Event in Paris was incredible, featuring the best talent in the sport racing in front of the most iconic, historic Paris monuments, and we’re thrilled for Taylor Knibb to be the first U.S. Olympic qualifier for Paris 2024,” said Victoria Brumfield, CEO of USA Triathlon. “Now, we look forward to watching our elite men race tomorrow in what should also be a thrilling race.”

Three more days of racing remain for the Paris test event. The men’s race will go off Friday, featuring Team USA contenders Morgan Pearson, Kevin McDowell, Matt McElroy, and Chase McQueen, all of whom will be looking to follow in Knibb’s footsteps to secure their spot for Paris 2024. They’ll be followed by the 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.

With Paris in the bag, Knibb is scheduled to compete in Lahti, Finland, where she will attempt to defend her Ironman 70.3 World Championship title.

RELATED: Meet the Contenders for the Paris 2024 U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Triathlon Teams

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