Kristian Blummenfelt wins men’s triathlon Olympic gold

Norway’s Kristian Blummenfelt new Olympic champion after clinching gold in men’s triathlon as Brownlee misses out on medals

Picture by 2021 Getty Images

After a false start to the race, Norway’s Kristian Blummenfelt won the men’s triathlon Olympic gold medal following a three-way battle for the title.

The Norwegian, who was in fifth position after the 1,500m swim and 40km cycle legs, finished in a time of one hour, 45 minutes and four seconds.

Blummenfelt's win gives Norway its first Olympic gold medal since the Olympic Games London 2012, when they won gold in handball and canoe sprint.

Behind him, Alex Yee of Great Britain won the silver in the Tokyo 2020 swim-bike-run event for Great Britain's sixth Olympic medal in triathlon.

And New Zealand’s Hayden Wilde claimed the bronze for New Zealand first medal of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.

Blummenfelt, who felt he would win the gold when he “was standing on the pontoon ready to go”, battled with world champion Yee and Wilde for the lead in the last two laps of the run.

He shared the lead with Yee with 2.5km to go in the race.

Then Blummenfelt strode away to leave Yee in second place, 11 seconds behind - his finish time was one hour, 45 minutes and 15 seconds. Wilde was a further nine seconds adrift.

After triumphantly breaking through the ribbon at Odaiba Marine Park in Tokyo, Blummenfelt fell to the floor in exhilaration and exhaustion.

"I wanted a medal, obviously I preferred the gold medal, everything else I would have been disappointed with," said the 27-year-old. "... So I’m just extremely relieved to have it around my neck now."

Wilde was also overjoyed with his bronze medal.

“Yeah, it’s pretty awesome. It’s New Zealand’s first medal so I knew if I had a good day and the stars aligned, I’d do something pretty special," he said.

“We prepared for this in the heat and yeah, getting on to the run, just also had to keep fuelling. And coming home with a third place, just like 2019 was pretty damn awesome.”

The absence of the double gold medallist and defending champion Alistair Brownlee meant the all-round fitness event - which consists of a 1,500m swim, a 40km bike ride and a 10km run - was the most open for a decade. 

His brother Jonathon was hoping to keep the men’s Olympic triathlon title in the family and even complete his set of Olympic medals after winning bronze in London 2012 and silver in Rio 2016.

And after the first two legs, Brownlee was leading and in a good position to claim the title. But he faded in the latter stages and trailed Belgium’s Marten van Riel home to finish in fifth place.

“I did everything I could, I got ready for the heat, I trained as hard as I could, had a great team around me and that’s all you can ask," said Brownlee philosophically.

"I think I’ve been very, very fortunate in my two Olympic Games, I’ve had two medals."

"It’s hard to perform and I’ve performed well in three (Olympic Games)."

This will, however, be his final Olympic Games.

“This will definitely be my last Olympics after obviously (mixed relay event),” he added.

The USA’s Kevin McDowell was sixth, with Hungary’s Bicsak Bence in seventh and Blummenfelt’s team-mate Gustav Iden in eighth.