Brownlee opposes halved Olympic Distance Triathlon format
International Triathlon Union (ITU) President and International Olympic Committee member Marisol Casado has stated that she would like the next Olympic Games’ triathlon to be a sprint distance instead of the traditional length that was created when triathlon became an Olympic sport, according to sources.
The current Olympic distance comprises a 1.5 km swim, 40 km bike and 10 km run, and is also the current length of races on the World Triathlon Series (WTS) circuit. Casado said she would like half the distance for Tokyo 2020, “to make the sport more appealing to television audiences and help pave the way for the inclusion of a new mixed relay format.” The changes would eventually take effect for WTS races as well.
Alistair Brownlee, two-time Olympic gold medallist, however does not agree and think the switch to the shorter distance would be a mistake.
“It’s quicker and more dynamic from a spectator point of view, but I’ve lost count of the number of people who have come up to me and said it’s the toughness of the event that appeals. It’d be a real shame to lose that,” said Brownlee.
Casado indicated that a switch to the sprint could make way for the introduction of semi-finals. Currently, ITU’s priority is getting a mixed-relay format triathlon introduced into future Olympic Games and an announcement will be made in early 2017.