International Triathlon Union President and IOC member, Marisol Casado says she feels confident that Triathlon Mixed Relays could be included in the Olympic Games in Tokyo alongside the existing individual Olympic distance race.
The format, which engages two men and two women in a mini triathlon format is fast, exhilarating and exciting. Not only would its inclusion present an additional triathlon medal at the Olympic Games, but Great Britain could expect to excel.
Speaking at the British Triathlon awards dinner, in Leeds last weekend, Casado said that it was completely realistic that Mixed Relays could be included, and that ITU is currently submitting proposal plans to the IOC Commission. Important criteria for new disciplines is their appeal to fans and youth, their event sustainability and impact to the environment / LOC budget, and gender balance, all of which Mixed Relay exhibit.
I think Mixed Team Relay is an incredible sport. It’s male and female racing together in a fast and furious environment and it would be great to get it into Tokyo 2020
She said: “ITU is passionate about having Triathlon Mixed Relay added to the Olympic Sports Programme. The nature of two men and two women competing side by side encourages gender balance, which fits perfectly with the IOC’s Agenda 2020 and President Bach’s positive mission for reform and evolution.”
IOC will make a decision on inclusion of Mixed Relays in July 2017. British triathletes have universally praised the format, with Olympic Champion, Alistair Brownlee commenting; “It would be absolutely fantastic if Mixed Team Relay was included in the Olympic Games in Tokyo.”
Jonathan Brownlee added: “I think Mixed Team Relay is an incredible sport. It’s male and female racing together in a fast and furious environment and it would be great to get it into Tokyo 2020.”
Olympic bronze medal winner, Vicky Holland, has been part of world championship winning British relay teams in the past, and welcomes the prospect of Mixed Relays gaining greater exposure via the Olympic Games. She commented: “I really hope so, just look at atmosphere that it generates having this tight, fast racing circuit. The lead changes so often, it’s a great spectator event and great for us to be part of it.”
A report in the Times Newspaper on Monday 14 November suggested plans to include Mixed Relays might be at the cost of the current individual format being shortened. Casado said: “In our current proposal to include Mixed Relay in the Tokyo Olympics, we have not proposed to shorten the individual races from a standard to sprint distance.”
She added: “Rather, the point is that we have to open dialogue amongst our key stakeholders including athletes, coaches and Federations about what is best for the evolution of triathlon, which was a factor in inviting the athletes to Congress in Madrid next month. Mixed Relay is the result of exactly that kind of dialogue, and it has been fantastic for the sport. This willingness to evolve has been a part of our DNA as an International Federation from the beginning, and is a strength of ours.”