Countdown to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games


Arriving at the delayed Games, the five-strong Team GB triathlon squad of Jonny Brownlee, Vicky Holland, Alex Yee, Georgia Taylor-Brown and Jess Learmonth are set to swim, bike, run around Odaiba Bay in search of gold later this month.

Having landed in Japan and met the various Covid-19 regulations, the team headed to their pre-Games training camp in the south of the country to acclimatise and prepare for the races.

With the climate of Tokyo a major factor for athletes to contend with, the team’s preparation over the past few years has included a heat and humidity plan to prepare them and their bodies as best as possible for the conditions that they will face.

On heading to Tokyo, Learmonth commented: “Having found out I was on the team in 2019 it's been a long time coming, but after the team announcement and kitting out I'm really excited now that the Games are almost here.  

“To have the chance to race for your country at an Olympics is such a privilege and I can't wait to put all my preparation to the test in Tokyo.” 

For the first time at an Olympic Games, mixed relay triathlon will join individual racing to provide the team with a third shot at a gold medal.

Odaiba Bay Marine Park will be the hub for the triathlon action in Tokyo. In the shadow of the famous Rainbow Bridge, athletes from 38 nations will dive off the pontoon across the men’s and women’s individual races to swim their 1.5km.

Of the 38 nations represented in Tokyo, only Australia have qualified the maximum number of athletes (6), with Morocco, Egypt and Romania qualifying athletes for the first time.

The Olympic swim course will comprise of two laps, a first of 950m and a second shorter lap of 550m, with athletes exiting and re-entering the water from the pontoon in-between. Once they’ve completed their two laps, it’ll then be a dash along the pontoon and into transition on the harbourfront of the marine park.

The 8-lap, 40km bike leg will see athletes race around Odaiba in tight 5km laps that will bring the action back passed transition for the beginning of each new lap. This flat course includes long, open stretches so the opportunity for some quick racing, as well as tight turns and intricate sections of the course.

The final leg once again includes multiple laps of a short route as the athletes take on four 2.5km laps on the roads and paths in and around the marine park. The 10km run is the final hurdle that the athletes will need to overcome in their quest for Olympic glory, with the final lap culminating in the finish line back on the waterfront of Odaiba Bay.

Brownlee, Holland, Taylor-Brown and Learmonth were all announced by Team GB as the first triathletes in the squad in November 2020, with Holland saying: “The Olympic Games has always been the driving force behind my athletic career and to have another opportunity to race on the biggest stage of all is something I do not take for granted.”

The men’s individual triathlon is the first triathlon action in Tokyo, taking place on Monday 26 July at 06:30 local time (10:30pm on Sunday 25 July BST) with Yee and Brownlee Britain’s representatives.

The following day will see Holland, Taylor-Brown and Learmonth pull on their trisuits with the racing once again starting at 06:30 local time (10:30pm on Monday 26 July BST). Britain are one of only four nations (alongside Australia, Italy and the USA) to have qualified the maximum number of females for Tokyo at three.

Added to the schedule for the first time, the mixed relay will take place on Saturday 31 July at 07:30 local time (11:30pm on Friday 30 July BST) as two men and two women from 18 nations will line up on the pontoon.

Team GB qualified through their mixed relay ranking and will be able to choose from the five individual athletes.

At the test event in 2019, the team brought home silver behind France with Dorian Coninx just edging out Alex Yee in a sprint finish.

Each of the four athletes will complete a 300m swim, 6.8km bike and 2km run before handing over to the next athlete in their team, with athlete four making their way to the finish.

The short, sharp mixed relay format provides plenty of opportunity for action, with regular changes between disciplines and athletes making for exciting and competitive racing.

Also travelling with the team are a series of coaches and support staff, as well as three travelling reserves. British Triathlon have selected Sophie Coldwell, Sam Dickinson and Gordon Benson as reserves for Tokyo.

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