When individual athleticism meets unadulterated team enthusiasm in the Triathlon Team Mixed Relay event, the result is pyrotechnics on the blue carpet.
A super-sprint triathlon consists of a 300-meter swim, a 6.6-kilometer bike ride, and a one-kilometer run, all of which each member of a four-member team must finish before passing the baton to the next (for the Paris 2024 Olympic cycle, the order is always male-female-male-female).
The tight, back-and-forth lead changes and team pride are the hallmarks of the events, and the athletes’ dramatic sprint and dive after being tagged by their teammate is one of the most thrilling parts of the races for spectators.
At the first-ever World Triathlon Triathlon Team Mixed Relay Championships in 2009 in Des Moines, Iowa, USA, the formidable Swiss team emerged victorious. Since the first World Championships in 2013, which were held in Hamburg, Germany, the German city has been the spiritual home of the format, hosting every year except for the 2022 tournament, which will be held in Montreal.
When it was revealed that Triathlon Mixed Relay would make its Olympic Games debut at Tokyo 2020, the exciting format was quickly adopted around the world and featured in major Games programs including the Youth Olympic Games and the Commonwealth Games. Here you will find out how does the mixed triathlon work.
What is the New Triathlon Mixed Relay?
In 2021, the Tokyo Olympics will introduce a new mixed-gender relay event for the sport of triathlon. We polled athletes and coaches to get their take on the new Olympic event, and here are some of the reasons they gave for why it will be an exciting and tense battle to the end.
“Fast and furious,” as two-time Olympic triathlon winner Alistair Brownlee put it. One of the most exciting events of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics will be the triathlon mixed relay, which will take place on July 31.
Each of the ten teams competing in the event will feature four athletes: two men a d two women. Less than 90 minutes is all you’ll need to finish the race. It’s frenetic, tactical, and physically draining.
What’s Involved in Triathlon Mixed Relay?
Each participant must complete a 300-meter swim, a 6.8-kilometer bike ride, and a 2-kilometer run before tapping their teammate’s hand and passing the relay. Each triathlete’s effort typically lasts around 20 minutes, resulting in a total race time of less than 90 minutes.
“I think it’s terrific that men and women get to race together, and it’s excellent for spectators because it’s quick and furious,” said the older of Britain’s Brownlee brothers. As Léonie Périault, the Frenchwoman who won the world title in 2018 and will do it again in 2020, said to Tokyo 2020, there is a distinct kind of pressure involved in competing in the sport.
“So much enthusiasm for the squad is fantastic. In mixed relay, I experience a surge of adrenaline. When we’re on our own, we don’t have it. I’m not in this to win it for myself; rather, I’m pushing myself to the limit to help my team.”
To fail would be to bring down the whole squad, and that thought alone gives us a pleasure. From 2003 to 2007, the world championships had separate triathlon relay events for male and female participants.
Nevertheless, the 4×4 mixed event has since become the only relay event to appear on the international athletic calendar.
How Does the Mixed Relay Triathlon Work?
Two-person teams of men and women take turns swimming 300 meters, cycling five kilometers, and running two kilometers before passing the baton to the next member of their team.
The order of speakers will be women followed by men, and then women. It’s a hit with athletes, fans, and viewers thanks to the format’s fast pace and element of surprise.
Athletes will begin their journey with a brief lap around Powell’s Pool, located within Birmingham’s Sutton Park, before proceeding to the short bike loop over some local roads and ending with a brief run through the park.
How Does Team Raffect Olympic qualification?
At the Olympics, all members of a mixed-team relay must have qualified as individuals in the sport of triathlon (though countries can sub in an alternate after the individual events if someone was injured or sick).
Because of this, several nations gave the relay a lot of thought when choosing athletes for their teams. A 20-minute event can be suited to a very different athlete than a two-hour event.
To participate in the Olympic triathlon relay, a country needs to have at least two individuals qualifying for the individual triathlon race. Nevertheless, there are additional spaces available for countries that qualify particularly as relay teams.
For example, the Belgian, Swiss, and Italian teams all qualified for the Olympics through the Mixed Relay event in Lisbon, Portugal. As of the present, 17 different nations are planning to send relay teams to Tokyo.
One individual does not run each leg of the race in a team mixed relay like you might see at your local triathlon. In contrast, in mixed-team relay, each athlete does an entire mini-swim, bike, and run before passing the baton to the next competitor.
Two men and two women make up each team, in the following order: female/male/female/male. Each Olympic competitor will have 20 minutes to finish the 300-meter swimming portion, the 6.8-kilometer cycling portion, and the 2-kilometer running portion of the super sprint triathlon. Hope now you know how does the mixed triathlon work.