Triathlon Mixed Relay – the International Triathlon Union (ITU’s) exciting mixed gender format – has continued its ascendancy, with the announcement by the Glasgow Commonwealth Games Committee that it will be included on its sports programme for 2014.
The debut of the Mixed Relay comes four years earlier than anticipated after the discipline was voted onto the Commonwealth Games programme starting in 2018, at the Commonwealth Games General Assembly in St Kitts & Nevis last November.
ITU then presented to the Glasgow 2014 Organising Committee in the hope of having the Triathlon Mixed Relay as an optional addition to the sports programme of Glasgow 2014, the 20th edition of the Commonwealth Games. The now confirmed inclusion on the Glasgow programme is seen as a great boost for the development of the sport across the 71 Commonwealth nations around the globe.
The format was also recently accepted onto the programme of the 2014 Incheon Asian Games, and was placed on the programme of the inaugural Youth Olympic Games in Singapore with great success.
Marisol Casado, ITU President and IOC member, said “We are delighted the Glasgow 2014 Organising Committee has embraced the Triathlon Mixed Relay. Triathlon is on currently on a high in the United Kingdom, and the Mixed Relay will offer an extra opportunity for the people of Glasgow to watch another thrilling and unpredictable event live on their city streets.”
Triathlon Mixed Relay consists of teams of four athletes: two men and two women, who compete in the order of woman, man, woman, man. Each athlete completes a super-sprint triathlon of swimming, biking and running, before handing over to their next team mate. The first team across the finish line is the winner.
The Mixed Relay is a stadium event focused around the transition zone, with the athletes retuning on average every five to eight minutes creating a special atmosphere and memorable moments for committed fans and television viewers alike. The short distances and numerous transitions results in non-stop action from start to finish, with the possibility of upsets at any stage.
This action is proven to appeal to a young, entertainment-hungry audience. The recent Triathlon Mixed Relay World Championships in the Olympic city of Lausanne, Switzerland, boasted its largest field ever, with representation from all five continents. According to research agency IFM, those World Championships – where Great Britain’s ‘Dream Team’ cruised to gold – had over 571 million TV contacts, with over 93 hours of airtime and 253 broadcasts.
Dr Sarah Springman, President of the British Triathlon Federation and Vice-President of ITU said, “ITU is delighted by the forward thinking of the CGF and the Glasgow 2014 Organising Committee. Commonwealth athletes have, to date, won a great many Olympic and World Championship medals and we can expect fierce competition from the best triathletes in the world for this exciting inaugural event.”
The addition of the Mixed Relay is seen to have a minimal impact on the overall Games budget for Glasgow. The discipline allows the same venue to be reused at very little extra cost; and minimal changes and the shorter distances mean that the event will have less impact on the city and require fewer and shorter road closures.
This latest success seems to strengthen ITU’s quest to get the Triathlon Mixed Relay event into the Olympic Games beginning with Rio 2016. ITU is bidding to get the discipline added to the programme of the Olympic Games and has already submitted a bid to the IOC. (The ITU has already been successful in its bid for paratriathlon to be included in the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.)