Norway’s Kristian Blummenfelt takes Gold at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games triathlon, with Alex Yee claiming Silver and Hayden Wilde Bronze.
Kristian Blummenfelt charged away to victory in Tokyo with a gutsy long-range attack on the run that proved decisive in dropping fellow podium getters Alex Yee and Hayden Wilde.
“It is a moment that I have been dreaming about for so many years,” a thrilled Blummenfelt told World Triathlon. “To be able to put it together on the day is something I am really proud of. It is a strange feeling coming into the last 100 metres and knowing that I had victory. It was quite a similar tactic as in Yokohama eight weeks ago and also in Lisbon.
“I don’t really have the leg speed if we came down to the blue carpet with Alex and Hayden so I knew I had to try and go really hard for five minutes all out and hopefully that would be enough to break them. It was such a good feeling when I got a little gap and I just had to make sure it was big enough, even for the last few hundred metres.”
How It Played Out
After a bizarre false-start, the swim got underway in Tokyo Bay’s 30°C water with a selection of favourites including Vincent Luis, Jonny Brownlee and Henri Schoeman jockeying for position. Luis led from the water in 17:39 and quickly established a breakaway group of around 10, driving hard to stay away from faster runners such as Alex Yee, Hayden Wilde and Kristian Blummenfelt.
With the cycling firepower of the first and second chase groups, it eventually all came together, creating a pack of 37 athletes closely bunched over the technical course. Stefan Zachaus of Luxembourg put in a brave, ill-fated breakaway while Switzerland’s Andrea Salvisberg managed to make his solo effort stick, coming into T2 with around 20 seconds on the chasers.
On the run, Alex Yee quickly moved to the front of the leading group, which included Blummenfelt, Wilde, 2016 Silver medallist Jonny Brownlee, test event winner Tyler Mislawchuk of Canada, Belgium’s Marten van Riel, the USA’s Kevin McDowell, Switzerland’s Max Studer, Norway’s Casper Stornes and France’s Dorian Coninx. Meanwhile, Luis dropped off the pace early, unable to keep with the best in the oppressive heat.
Mislawchuk was the first to capitulate and drop off while Coninx lost ground halfway through as Wilde and Yee continued a relentless pace. Studer was shelled out during lap three with Stornes next to lose out to the ferocious speed. Yee pushed on again at the front to drop van Riel and McDowell, Brownlee yo-yoing off the back.
By the start of the final lap, it was down to Yee, Wilde and Blummenfelt. The trio ran together until around 1km to go when with gritted teeth, Blummenfelt dug deep to put in an awesome attack that Yee and Wilde just couldn’t follow.
Slapping his forehead in disbelief, the Norwegian ran down the finishing straight to grab the tape in 1:45:04 and secure Olympic Gold before collapsing and vomiting from the effort. Yee distanced Wilde to claim Silver while Wilde took Bronze.
Marten van Riel took fourth – two positions higher than in Rio – while Brownlee came away with fifth place.