Brownlee brothers look to Tokyo - and a potential relay double

Brownlee brothers look to Tokyo - and a potential relay double

17 November 2016 / 16:31
Alistair and Jonny Brownlee could go for gold together in Tokyo - if triathlon officials get the go-ahead to introduce a mixed team relay to the programme.

GettyImages-452716498relayAlongside Vicky Holland and Jodie Stimpson, the brothers won gold for England at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

And the International Triathlon Union are bidding to get the discipline added to the 2020 schedule when organisers finalise their sports programme with the International Olympic Committee next July.

They had been hopeful of inclusion in Rio until the IOC officials ruled against any new disciplines to avoid financial pressure on the organisers.

“I think mixed team relay is an incredible sport,” said Olympic silver medallist Jonathan Brownlee. “It’s male and female racing together in fast and furious racing and it would be great to get it into Tokyo 2020.”

Holland, who won bronze in Rio, also believes the event would be a positive addition, 20 years after the sport made its Games debut in Sydney.

“I really hope it can happen, just look at atmosphere that it generates having this tight, fast racing circuit,” she said.  “The lead changes so often, it’s a great spectator event and great for us to be part of it.”

ITU president and IOC member Marisol Casado believes the addition of a third race to the triathlon schedule would deliver on several key Olympic ambitions, with no impact on event sustainability or the overall Games budget, while also appealing to fans and media.

Speaking at the British Triathlon awards dinner in Leeds, she said: “ITU is passionate about having triathlon mixed relay added to the Olympic sports programme.

“The nature of two men and two women competing side by side encourages gender balance, which fits perfectly with the IOC’s Agenda 2020 and President Bach’s positive mission for reform and evolution.” 

However, despite recent reports, Casado stresses there are no plans to change the current ‘Olympic’ distance individual races in preference to sprint triathlon.

“In our current proposal to include mixed relay in the Tokyo Olympics, we have not proposed to shorten the individual races from a standard to sprint distance,” she added.

“Rather, the point is that we have to open dialogue amongst our key stakeholders including athletes, coaches and federations about what is best for the evolution of triathlon, which was a factor in inviting the athletes to Congress in Madrid next month. 

“Mixed relay is the result of exactly that kind of dialogue, and it has been fantastic for the sport. This willingness to evolve has been a part of our DNA as an international federation from the beginning, and is a strength of ours.”  

Sportsbeat 2016

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