Between now and next summer’s Olympic Games in Rio we will be focusing on the different sports and Team GB athletes to keep an eye out for. The latest Olympic Spotlight sees us concentrate on triathlon.
Where: Forte Copacabana
When: August 18-20
Medal events: 2 (men’s individual and women’s individual)
Did you know: At the 1904 Olympic Games in St Louis there was an athletics triathlon (comprising of the long jump, the shot put and the 100-yard dash) and a gymnastics triathlon (comprising of the horizontal bar, the parallel bars and the horse).
Both these events were used to determine the scores for the gymnastics all-around event.
About the sport:
Triathlon made its debut at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games and has been contested at every Olympics since.
The men and women’s triathlons are contested over the same distance with athletes completing a 1.5km swim, a 43km cycle and a 10km run. The competitions take the form of a single event between all competitors with no heats.
Of the eight gold medals awarded since the sport made its Olympic debut, Switzerland are the only nation to have won more than one with Brigitte McMahon sealing the inaugural women’s title in 2000 and Nicola Spirig following in her compatriots footsteps at London 2012.
Qualifying spots go to the nation – in other words they are not tied to the individual triathlete who achieved the place/finish at the qualifying event – with the decision on individuals resting with the national governing bodies.
There are 110 spots up for grabs at Rio 2016, split evenly between the men’s and women’s race, which can be earned through the Continental Qualification Events, the World Qualification Event or the Olympic Qualification List.
Each nation can earn a maximum of three quota places per gender and Team GB have already secured two women’s quota places and one men’s quota place.
Gordon Benson sealed the men’s spot for Britain by winning the 2015 European Games while Non Stanford and Vicky Holland added two quotas to the British team by finishing second and third at the World Qualification Event in Rio.
Stanford and Holland then assured themselves places on the British team by meeting the British Triathlon Federations selection criteria by finishing second and third at the ITU World Triathlon Grand Final in Chicago.
Did you know: Before turning his attentions triathlon, Gordon Benson represented Great Britain in athletics at junior level – winning a silver medal in the 3000m at the 2011 European Youth Summer Olympic Festival.
Team GB success:
Team GB won their first-ever triathlon medals at the London 2012 Olympic Games as the Brownlee brothers both made the podium – Alistair winning gold while younger sibling Jonathan took bronze.
In the women’s race at London 2012 Helen Jenkins finished fifth, missing out on the podium by less than seven-tenths of a second, while Britain’s previous best finish before 2012 was Michelle Dillon’s sixth place at the Athens 2004 Games.
Team GB hopes for Rio:
If either of the Brownlee brothers step on the podium once again in Rio, they will become just the third triathlete in history to win a medal at two Olympic Games following Canada’s Simon Whitfield who took gold in 2000 and silver in 2008 and New Zealand’s Bevan Docherty who won silver and bronze in 2004 and 2008 respectively.
Both Alistair and Jonny are on course to secure GB two more quota places through the Olympic Qualification List despite struggling with injuries in recent months.
With Britain’s men’s triathlon team yet to be selected, Gordon Benson will hope his victory at the 2015 European Games will put him in the mix while Adam Bowden is currently 20th in the Olympic Qualification List.
On the women’s side, both Vicky Holland and Non Stanford have already met selection standards for Rio per the British Triathlon Federation criteria by finishing second and third at the ITU World Triathlon Grand Final in Chicago, although no athlete is selected for Rio until the official Team GB selection.
Jodie Stimpson is another triathlete in form as she currently lies 18th on the Olympic Qualification List and also won two golds at the 2014 Commonwealth Games.