After four years, the Summer Olympics have once again returned taking place this season in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. With the men’s Olympic triathlon set to take off on August 18th and the women’s contest fixed on August 20th on the Copacabana Beach, the International Triathlon Union (ITU) has released the triathlon numbered start lists.
The ITU randomly draws and assigns start list numbers in groupings to National Olympic Committees (NOC) to decide where triathletes will position their bikes in transition. However, there will be an athlete briefing in Rio where athletes will be given their Olympic rankings and start position order. The first ten athletes’ selections will not be revealed until all 55 athletes have chosen their spot. There can only be three triathletes maximum that can represent their respective country.
Already off to a solid start, this summer classic will include a record 42 NOC with qualified spots in the triathlon. The 2012 London Olympics held the previous record with 39.
There will be six newcomers who qualified for the triathlon on the Olympic stage: Azerbaijan, Barbados, Israel, Jordan, Norway, and Puerto Rico.
Australia, Canada, Great Britain, Japan, Spain, Russia, and the United States will have the maximum allowance of three women compete in the event.
The men’s race has eight NOCs that qualified to have the maximum of three men compete: Australia, France, Great Britain, Mexico, Portugal, Russia, Spain, and the United States.
All triathletes with a start number between 30-39 will more than certainly have a better chance at finding him or herself on the podium at the end the day. Since the triathlon debut in the 2000 Sydney Olympics, five gold medals have come from start numbers between 30-39.
United States’ Gwen Jorgensen and Olympic favorite has been given the 20th start number. She is ranked 1st according Olympic rankings.
The heavy favorites in the men’s triathlon—Alistair and Jonathan Brownlee—were respectively given start numbers 5 and 6. The brothers from the United Kingdom were given the Olympic rankings of 7th and 8th, respectively.
Russia’s start numbers to this point are still intact in spite of the International Olympic Committees’ (IOC) pending ruling on the nation’s chance to rule due to a countrywide doping scandal. If an athlete were to withdraw, the athlete who enters competition due to that withdrawal will also receive that triathlete’s start number.