After a very weird 2020, we’re (finally) now headed into 2021—but there are still a lot of questions left unanswered, in the world and in our sport. Who will help shape triathlon? Who are the people working in front of and behind the scenes to do exciting, new, or interesting things? Who should you keep your eye on in the next multisport year?
We racked our brains, scoured the tri-space, and came up with this varied list of multisport movers and shakers—all of whom we’re looking forward to watching in 2021. We can’t wait to see what they do and how they change the sport in the year ahead. We’ll be revealing one person at a time over the next two weeks, but Active Pass members can view the entire list right now. Today we’re highlighting a collection of athletes who are looking for Olympic success.
The French ITU Men’s Team
There’s a good chance that this decade will see the French ITU squad take over as the most dominant men’s team in the sport. While the British men had a stronghold though much of the past decade, and the American women have been holding court for a while, at this year’s World Triathlon Series World Championship, if you spoke French to the top six individuals in the men’s race, there was a 50/50 chance someone would speak French back. For perspective, the French men’s team has so much depth that they were able to sit out two-time world champion Vincent Luis and still get the win over the U.S. and Great Britain at the mixed relay world championships in Hamburg.
Besides Luis, the other two heavy hitters on the French squad include Léo Bergere, who took third at the Hamburg ITU world championships and has a handful of WTS top 10 finishes, and Dorian Coninx, who has a big win at the 2019 WTS Bermuda in his resume. Don’t forget about Pierre Le Corre, who has four WTS top 10s since 2018.
So why are the French men so adept in the ITU? A big reason lies in the French Grand Prix club system. While American triathlon Olympic hopefuls are swimming or running during their high school and college years, the French are cutting their teeth in a fiercely competitive regional short-course system with teams of various size, speed, and funding. A developing French athlete can start in the Grand Prix’s lower divisions before graduating to fast-and-furious competition right in their backyards against the likes of the Brownlee brothers, Javier Gomez, and many other ITU veterans who race for Grand Prix teams during breaks. While the Americans might have no idea who their next crop of triathlon Olympic hopefuls are, the French already have their eyes on the lower divisions of their Grand Prix league for 2024 and beyond.