It wasn’t exactly a surprise to see Norway’s Kristian Blummenfelt take the gold medal at the Olympics last summer – he’d started his year off with his second World Triathlon Championship Series victory in Yokohama, then followed that up with a impressive victory at the World Triathlon Cup in Lisbon. Sickness kept him off the podium at Arzachena, and then hamstring cramps slowed him at WTCS Leeds.
Blummenfelt came off that huge block of racing knowing that he was rounding into excellent form. He did some altitude training with his Norwegian teammates, then headed to Japan for some final fine-tuning with the Japanese triathlon team.
You can read our recap of the Olympic men’s final here.
The race started out with some drama as a false start with about half the field diving off the pontoon and swimming almost 200 m before being brought back to the start pontoon. After the swim a small breakaway group formed on the bike that didn’t include any of the powerful Norwegian team (Blummenfelt, Gustav Iden and Casper Stornes), but by the end of the 40 km bike ride there was a group of 30 together to start the 10 km run just 14-seconds behind Switzerland’s Andrea Salvisberg – it was apparent that the Swiss athlete was soon to be run down by the speedy group chasing behind.
By the end of the third of four laps of the run there were three men clear who appeared to be battling for the medals – Blummenfelt, Alex Yee (GBR) and Hayden Wilde (NZL). With about 2 km to go Blummenelt would make his move, pulling clear and pushing hard for the line – the effort obvious on his face. He would cross the line in 1:45:04, 11 seconds ahead of Yee and 20 seconds up on Wilde.
It was possibly the biggest win for Blummenfelt in a year full of huge wins and performances. To do it on the huge stage that is the Olympics made it that much more dramatic – and obviously one of the performances of the year.