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Athletes get behind #TriMixedRelays bid

Tri Mixed Relay athletes on the podium in Hamburg - photo credit International Triathlon Union - Janos Schmid

Last week, Gwen Jorgensen, the Olympic triathlon gold medallist in Rio 2016, was the first triathlete backing International Triathlon Union’s (ITU) proposal of including the Mixed Relays on the Olympic Programme for Tokyo 2020. “It will be amazing if we could have two opportunities to get a medal at the Olympic Games,” said the American elite triathlete.

Hundreds of triathletes around the world, alongside national federations and organizers of events have also joined the #TriMixedRelays campaign.

“Relays are unity in sport, an accomplishment bigger than the individual. Isn’t that what the Olympics is all about?” asked American triathlete Renée Tomlin. “Its my favourite event in the calendar,” replied British triathlon star Non Stanford, while her compatriot Helen Jenkins asked her followers to help to “get more triathlon on the Olympics.”

“The Olympics is about athleticism, patriotism and awe. The Triathlon Mixed Relays massively fulfils this criteria and should be in Tokyo 2020,” added American Tommy Zaferes. “I support getting the Mixed Relays in Tokyo 2020,” said South African Richard Murray, a Relays bronze medallist himself at the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

Athletes around the world have argued that the Mixed Relay format is loved by the whole triathlon family. From Lisa Norden (SWE) to Jodie Stimpson (GBR); from Fernando Alarza (ESP) to Ashleigh Gentle (AUS); from Aileen Reid (IRL) to Dominika Jamnicky (CAN) or Ben Kanute (USA), all were asking their teammates to push and try to get another chance at an Olympic medal.

Flora Duffy, current ITU World Champion, from Bermuda said, “Even though I won’t be able to race, as I’m the only triathlete from Bermuda racing at WTS level, I’d still love to see the #TriMixedRelays at the next Olympics.”

The push to have the event included on the Olympic programme is coming not only from the athletes but also from the national federations. “What a spectacle it would be for the Triathlon Mixed Relays at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics,” said the British Triathlon Federation. According to ITU the call for the addition of #TriMixedRelays at Tokyo 2020 is also coming from ‘USA, Australia, Netherlands, Denmark, Canada, Italy, Mexico, France… the number of federations asking for it keeps growing day by day, with the total support of the athletes.’

With no extra athletes needed to be added to the Olympics programme, and lots of extra excitement for spectators, the Mixed Relays are also backed by triathlon fans and event organizers around the world. The Major League Triathlon team also supports the bid, as does Chris McCormack, co-founder of the SuperLeague.

“We love mixed events. Young men and women should be inspired to enjoy sports together. Sports should unite genders as well,” said Yiannis Exharchos, OBS CEO.

“I really think we have all the ingredients,” said Marisol Casado, ITU’s President and IOC Member. “It is something that athletes like and it is adding the team values to a very individual sport, which they really like and appreciate. It’s thrilling, exciting and engages with spectators, both on-site and on television. We already have Mixed Relays at the Commonwealth Games, Asian Games… We really think it will be a great value to include the Triathlon Mixed Relays to the Olympic programme.”

ITU has presented a formal bid for Mixed Relays to the IOC, which will make a final decision at the Executive Board meeting to be held on 9-10 July 2017.




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