The agony and ecstasy of triathlon. –Irish commentator on Norwegian Kristian Blummenfelt’s finish in the Olympic marathon

Hayden Wilde puts New Zealand on the board

By Roger Childs

After 1500 metres of swimming, 40 km on the bike, it’s all down to a foot race of 10 km. You don’t have to win the swimming leg or the bike ride, but it’s vital to be near the front group of runners exiting the final transition to have a chance.  There will about 30 minutes of running in the four laps and the positions can quickly change 

Kiwi Hayden Wilde was in the front three after two laps along with Blummenfelt and Alex Yee from Great Britain. The group kept moving away from the rest of the very strong field and there was no doubt that they would take the medals. The Norwegian looks more like a rugby forward than a triathlete, but such appearances are very deceptive. He runs with speed and determination, and he started moving away from the other two with about 1.5 km to go. The gap constantly increased and he was 100 metres ahead when he crossed the finish line in a time of I hour 45 minutes and four seconds. He fell to the ground and rolled across the five Olympic circles painted on the traditional blue carpet grasping the wide finish tape. Ecstasy and agony on a very hot day in Tokyo.  

Alex Yee was second comfortably ahead of Wilde.

Medal ceremony

Because of the covid requirements in Japan there are a few changes to the traditional pattern. The medallists wore masks, put their own medals on and picked up the small bouquets off a tray. No handshakes. After the playing of the Norwegian national anthem the three were briefly allowed to remove their masks to smile and wave to the crowd. Then with masks back on the winner beckoned to the other two to join him on the top section of the podium.

Contrary to what the TV1 commentator stated, this is not New Zealand’s first Olympic triathlon medal. New Zealand has won three triathlon medals in previous Olympics:

  • Athens 2004 – Hamish Carter: gold
  • Athens 2004 – Bevan Docherty: silver
  • Beijing  2008 – Bevan Docherty: bronze

Hayden Wilde joins these champions with his bronze in Tokyo — New Zealand first medal of the 2020 Olympics.