Following the recent announcement that the triathlon mixed relay will be part of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, olympic.org looks back to when the event made its Olympic debut at the Youth Olympic Games (YOG) Singapore 2010.
In August 2020, the Odaiba Marine Park in Tokyo will host the first-ever triathlon mixed relay to be contested at the Olympic Games. But the event has already made a huge impact on the Olympic stage, having thrilled crowds and athletes alike at the YOG ever since the inaugural edition in Singapore in 2010.
The event saw 64 young triathletes – who had all competed in the individual triathlon event at the YOG – split into 16 continental teams to vie for gold at Singapore’s East Coast Park. The teams, which featured two men and two women from each continent, were based on the athletes’ finishing positions in the individual events, with each competitor completing a super-sprint triathlon of a 250-metre swim, 7km bike ride and 1.7km run before tagging a team member to begin the next leg.
I had great team-mates and they did great jobs.Alois Knabl YOG 2010 gold medalist Triathlon Mixed Relay
With men and women competing alongside each other, and athletes from different National Olympic Committees joining forces together, the mixed relay was one of the most innovative events at the YOG. Once the action got underway, it also proved to be one of the most thrilling.
After the opening leg, Japan’s Yuka Sato, who had won the women’s individual event gold earlier in the Games, had opened up a five-second lead for Team Asia 1. But the second leg saw 10 teams close the gap, led by men’s individual silver medallist Kevin McDowell of the USA, who stormed through the field to give Team Americas 1 a 17-second lead at the changeover, followed by Team Americas 2, Team Oceania 1 and Team Europe 1.
Superb cycling by Oceania’s Maddie Dillon and Europe’s Fanny Beisaron on the third leg saw Team Americas 2 edged out of the medal positions, with Team Americas 1 still enjoying a slim advantage as the final athletes began their legs.
By the end of the swim and cycle, Laurato Diaz had restored Team Americas 1’s healthy lead, opening up a 14-second gap ahead of their rivals. Having been adjudged to have unfastened his bike helmet too soon, however, he was given a 15-second penalty and was eventually passed by men’s YOG champion Aaron Barclay of the Oceania 1 team, and Europe 1’s men’s bronze medallist Alois Knabl.
A thrilling battle between Barclay and Knabl then ensued over the 1.7km course, with a final burst from Knabl seeing him pull into the lead just a few metres from the finish line to clinch victory for Europe.
“I had great team-mates and they did great jobs,” Austria’s Knabl said afterwards. “It was really hard in the end as I had to beat the Youth Olympic champion from the individual race. It’s really great that three days ago I got bronze and today I got the gold. I’d love to compete in the team event in the Olympic Games someday!”
Now, following the IOC’s decision to add the mixed relay to the programme for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, he may just get that chance.