Feature | Triathlon

Olympic triathlon at Tokyo 2020: Top five things to know

Fancy a swim near the Rainbow Bridge? The triathlon course for Tokyo 2020 in 2021 will be iconic and testing. Here's a rundown on what to expect.

By Ed Knowles ·

The triathlon at Tokyo 2020 will start with an open-water swim near the iconic Rainbow Bridge.

Becoming an Olympic champion triathlete is the pinnacle of the sport at that distance. And, in this edition of the Olympics, there is also an extra chance for more gold medals with the introduction of the mixed relay.

So, who is in contention for the Olympic medals? What is the Olympic history? Here is our guide to the top things to know about Olympic triathlon.

The iconic Rainbow Bridge will be the backdrop for the triathlon at Tokyo 2020

Top Olympic triathlon athletes at Tokyo 2020

Double Olympic champion Alistair Brownlee is looking to win a third consecutive gold medal for Great Britain.

In November 2020, he was left out of the British squad.

He still has a great chance of qualification and has made a habit of peaking at the right time.

His brother, Jonathan Brownlee, will be a major contender for gold after reaching two Olympic podiums.

During the pause in competition, Mario Mola of Spain topped the World Triathlon rankings.

The rankings were frozen from March 2020 and are planned to start again in March 2021.

The British team are strong in the female side as well.

Olympic medallist Vicky Holland joins Georgia Taylor-Brown and Jess Learmonth in solid line-up.

World champion Katie Zaferes of the USA is also and contender along with team-mate Taylor Spivey.

Rio gold medallist Gwen Jorgensen announced in November 2017 that she was retiring from triathlon, and focusing on the marathon.

Olympic triathlon competition format at Tokyo 2020

The traditional Olympic distance will be followed for the individual events.

As ever, the athletes will first tackle a 1,500-metre swim, then a 40km bike ride and finally a 10km run.

The bike and run courses will be loops for Tokyo 2020.

The distance changes for the mixed relay event with four athletes (two women and two men) each completing a 300m swim, 8km bike and a 2km run.

Men's Triathlon | Rio 2016 Replay

Gold: Alistair Brownlee. Silver: Jonathan Browlee. Bronze: Henri Schoeman.

Olympic triathlon venue at Tokyo 2020.

The courses will be familiar to local triathlon fans. The venue has been used for the national championships for more than 20 years.

Odaiba Bay will be where the swim takes place. The bike and run legs for the individual events will weave through the surrounding park.

The 1.5km swim leg will consist of two laps in Odaiba Marine Park, with eight laps for the 40km bike section and four 2.5km loops to make the 10km running course.

Women's Triathlon | Rio 2016 Replay

Gold: Gwen Jorgensen. Silver: Nicola Spirig. Bronze: Vicky Holland.

Olympic triathlon history

Half a million people were estimated to have lined the streets to watch the very first Olympic triathlon at Sydney 2000.

Brigitte McMahon of Switzerland and Canada’s Simon Whitfield were the inaugural winners.

Jan Frodeno beat the Canadian to second placed at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Frodeno has become one of the most dominant Ironman distance triathletes as well where he’s won three world championship titles.

The most dominant athlete at the recent Olympics is Alistair Brownlee of Britain. His attempts to win an Ironman world championships title have been put on hold with the hope of adding another Olympic title to his name instead.

Olympic triathlon schedule at Tokyo 2020

Men’s: Monday 26 July 2021

Women’s: Tuesday 27 July 2021

Mixed relay: Saturday 31 July 2021