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What we learned: Triathlon wrap-up from the Tokyo 2020 Olympics

From Flora Duffy giving Bermuda a maiden gold to the first ever Olympic mixed relay, take a look at triathlon's most memorable moments at Tokyo 2020, a medal recap, and what we have to look forward to at Paris 2024. 

6 min By olympic-editorialworkflow
Jessica Learmonth, Jonathon Brownlee, Georgia Taylor-Brown and Alex Yee of Team Great Britain celebrate on the podium during the medal ceremony following the Mixed Relay Triathlon on day eight of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Odaiba Marine Park on July 31, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)
(Picture by 2021 Getty Images)
Triathlon brought a number of firsts and unforgettable moments to the Tokyo Games. Flora Duffy won Bermuda's first ever gold medal, Norway's Kristian Blummenfelt claimed Norway's first gold since London 2012 and we saw a mixed relay triathlon for the first time at an Olympic Games.

Tokyo presented an incredible test of endurance for the world's elite athletes and watching them set new limits and break new boundaries was a real thrill.

Read on for the Top 5 moments at Tokyo 2020, see where you can watch highlights and replays free and on-demand and take a look ahead to the Paris 2024 Games.

1. Flora Duffy claims Bermuda's first ever gold

The party started early in Bermuda, at around 8pm as Flora Duffy crossed the line first to give Bermuda, population 64,000, its first Olympic gold.

On a wet and humid morning the athletes did a 1.5km swim, 40km bike ride and 10km run, with a group of five still in it after the bike ride including Duffy, 2020 world champion Georgia Taylor-Brown, and 2019 world champion Katie Zaferes.

The 33-year-old Bermudian led at the start of the run and never looked back clocking 1:55.36, a full minute and 14 seconds ahead of second-place Taylor-Brown, with Zaferes taking bronze.

It was an incredible triumph for Duffy considering all the injuries she's had, which almost forced her to retire.

“It feels incredible," Duffy said afterwards, "I mean, of course it makes all the injuries, hard times and the tears completely worth it."

"I am so thrilled I could execute, and yeah, I achieved my dream of winning a gold medal, but also winning Bermuda's first gold medal.

“It's bigger than me and that's a really cool moment.”

2. Blummenfelt brings Norway back

Norway shone at the last Winter Olympic Games at PyeongChang 2018 in South Korea, but London 2012 was the last time they celebrated a Summer Games Olympic gold medal.

Back then it was handball and canoe sprint accepting the applause and It looked like it might not happen in Tokyo again either with Blummenfelt back in fifth after the 1,500m swim and 40km cycle.

But the 2019 ITU World Triathlon Series champ finished the strongest in the run, holding off Britain's reigning world champion Alex Yee and New Zealand’s Hayden Wilde who finished with silver and bronze respectively.

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

3. First ever Olympic mixed relay triathlon is a thriller

It was exciting, it was nail-biting, it was thoroughly entertaining.

Mixed relay triathlon made a spectacular bow on the Olympic stage and it was a lot of fun to watch.

Great Britain grabbed gold to add to the two silver medals they had won in the individual events, Jess Learmonth, Alex Yee, Jonny Brownlee and Georgia Taylor-Brown stepping up onto the podium.

Each team member had to swim for 300m, cycle for 6.8km and run for 2km and in the final bike race it looked like the French had got the better of them when anchor Vincent Luis of France - the triple world champions - raced past Team GB's Alex Yee.

Yee, silver medallist in the men's individual event, somehow managed to find a reserve of strength and reeled Luis in, as Britain took the inaugural gold.

4. Goodbye to the Brownlee brothers

Remember when the Brownlee brothers won gold and silver at Rio 2016? Or that viral moment of brotherly love when Alistair helped Jonny across the finish line?

The British bros have brought a lot to the sport of triathlon and even though double Olympic champ Alistair didn't compete in Tokyo, Jonathan was flying the family flag.

But a third individual medal was beyond Brownlee's reach as he finished fifth in the men's event.

“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," he said after the race. "I think I’ve been very, very fortunate in my two Olympic Games, I’ve had two medals."

“This will definitely be my last Olympics," he confirmed.

And what a way to bow out:

Brownlee was an essential part of the mixed GB team to win gold and complete his Olympic collection:

Bronze at London 2012, silver at Rio 2016 and gold - in a history-making debut mixed relay race - at Tokyo 2020.

Now that's how you say goodbye.

5. Wilde dedicates win to dad

Britain, Bermuda, nad the Brownlees weren't the only ones making history and leaving us with all the feels, 23-year-old Hayden Wilde from New Zealand brought home a first Olympic medal since Bevan Docherty at Beijing 2008.

The triathlete looked off the pace after the swim and bike but a lung-busting final 10k run put him on the podium.

And his reaction post-race was memorable, as the tears flowed.

“I am pretty happy. It was a good to get a medal back in triathlon,’' he understated, leaning on a railing so he wouldn't fall down for all the tiredness and emotion.

“That was definitely for my family and my dad as well. He passed away 12 years ago and never got to see me race. So ... yeah... it is pretty unreal. I have been in the sport for nearly four years.

"So it is a dream come true.’’

When and where to watch triathlon replays on Olympics.com

You can watch highlights and full events from triathlon at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics right here: olympics.com/tokyo2020-replays

What to look forward to at Paris 2024

Just three years out from the next Olympic Games at Paris 2024 there's plenty to look forward to.

With two 23-year-olds on the men's podium in Alex Yee, Hayden Wilde, 23-year-old Taylor Knibb claiming silver in the mixed teams and Georgia Taylor-Brown (27), Léonie Périault (27) and 25-year-old German triathlete Laura Lindemann all in the women's individual top ten:

The next-gen is already here.

Look out for all of the above on pushing for podium places once more, and new stars on the rise, with the French triathletes set to sparkle in front of home crowds.

France's mixed relay team are triple world-champs and Léonie Périault, Dorian Coninx, Cassandre Beaugrand, and Vincent Luis will feel like one got away from them in Tokyo as they finished in bronze behind GB and Team USA.

Paris will be a whole other story.

Triathlon medals at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics: Results

Men's individual

Gold: Kristian Blummenfelt (NOR)

Silver: Alex Yee (GBR)

Bronze: Hayden Wilde (NZL)

Women's individual

Gold: Flora Duffy (BER)

Silver: Georgia Taylor-Brown (GBR)

Bronze: Katie Zaferes (USA)

Mixed team relay

Gold: Jess Learmonth, Alex Yee, Jonny Brownlee and Georgia Taylor-Brown(Great Britain)

Silver: Katie Zaferes, Kevin McDowell, Taylor Knibb, Morgan Pearson (United States)

Bronze: Léonie Périault, Dorian Coninx, Cassandre Beaugrand, and Vincent Luis (France)

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Kristian BLUMMENFELTKristian BLUMMENFELT
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