On the other side of the ocean, the 2022 Commonwealth Games kicked off this weekend with the individual triathlon races awarding the first medals in Birmingham, UK.
In the men’s and women’s races, familiar faces found their way to the front with Bermuda’s Flora Duffy out-running England’s Georgia Taylor-Brown, and England’s Alex Yee topping New Zealand’s Hayden Wilde. But, with a controversial penalty given to Wilde in the men’s race, many are bemoaning the missed sprint finish that could have been between the two Olympic medalists.
Wilde has said he is appealing the 10-second penalty, which was given for starting to remove his helmet before his bike was stopped—though close observers will note the bike had already been placed in the rack, and hopes to share gold with Yee.
The paratri races followed on Sunday, with only the men’s and women’s visually-impaired categories competing in this Games edition. (Paratri races were added to the Commonwealth Games’ line-up in 2018.) And England had a good Sunday, taking both the VI wins and then following it with a gold in the mixed relay.
At the Commonwealth Games, each Commonwealth country competes for their own pride and victory—meaning the team of Great Britain is divided into Wales, Scotland, England, and Northern Ireland. For the deep British team, that allowed athletes who didn’t make the cut for Tokyo to show what they’re capable of, and it pitted teammates against each other in exciting showdowns.
Photos from Ben Lumley/World Triathlon and Getty Images
As the women dove in for the start of the individual race at the Commonwealth Games, Bermuda’s Flora Duffy and England’s Georgia Taylor-Brown (far right) joked they were the last off the dock.
Duffy and Taylor-Brown broke away on the 20K bike.
With the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England this year, the crowds cheered loudly for Taylor-Brown in the breakaway.
Duffy was able to repeat as Commonwealth Games champ, after winning the last time in 2018. Taylor-Brown was second in front of the home crowd. And Scotland’s Beth Potter took third.
The women’s podium greeted 6th placer finisher, Wales’ Non Stanford. At the Commonwealth Games, the deep British women’s triathlon team competes for their individual countries (England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland).
The men’s race was marked by a bit more controversy.
A large packed formed on the bike, with England’s Alex Yee and New Zealand’s Hayden Wilde looking to repeat their Olympic (and recent World Triathlon) sprint finishes—but it wasn’t to be.
Fans come out from across the Commonwealth to support their athletes in 20 different sports at the “Friendly Games.”
Hayden Wilde was forced to serve a 10-second penalty on the run, after a referee ruled he started to take off his helmet before his bike was fully stopped. After running side-by-side with Yee, Wilde shook hands with his competitor and served the penalty as they neared the finish line. He was still able to outsprint Matthew Hauser, of Australia, for the silver medal.
Wilde has said he is appealing the ruling, though he doesn’t want to take anything from Yee, and believes they should shere the gold.
Yee celebrated his victory on home turf—the first of two wins over the weekend.
Paratriathlon only made its Commonwealth Games debut in 2018. And the 2022 Games featured just the men’s and women’s visually-impaired races. They took off from an in-water start Sunday morning before the mixed relay.
Northern Ireland’s Oliver Gunning and his guide Kenneth Duncan in the men’s VI race.
In Tokyo, pre-race favorite England’s David Ellis suffered a mechanical, but this weekend he was able to claim gold for the home country.
England’s Katie Crowhurst (right) and her guide, Jessica Fullagar, celebrate their win.
Fans cheer on their athletes in the individual races and the mixed relay.
The mixed relay featured teams from 12 countries, including Barbados, India, and Trinidad and Tobago.
Bermuda’s Tyler Butterfield took the third leg for his island team.
Yee chases down Wilde in the team relay—where the English team of Yee, Taylor-Brown, Sophie Coldwell, and Sam Dickinson, was again able claim gold.
The order of the mixed relay is now alternating through the 2024 Olympic Games, so that it finishes with a woman’s leg. Taylor-Brown crossed the line for her victorious English team.
Behind the English team, Wales took second with Non Stanford closing the final leg, and Australia held on for third.