World Triathlon changes order of mixed relay for next three years

The handoff at the Mixed Relay at the Tokyo Olympics. Photo: World Triathlon

The World Triathlon Executive Board met for the last two days and have announced some big rule changes that will especially affect the mixed relay, which made its debut at the Tokyo Olympics last summer. For at least the next three years the order of the mixed relay, which will now have the men head off in the first and third positions, with the women going second and fourth. That move could dramatically affect how teams select their athletes, with the first men’s leg now requiring a strong swimmer if teams look to be competitive in the events. The man/ woman/ man/ woman format will be in place until 2024 and “be applicable on all levels of events,” World Triathlon said in a release today.

Another big change that won’t take effect until 2023 is that clip on bars will no longer be allowed for draft-legal events. That’s always been the case for age group athletes, but now even elites will no longer be able to use aero bars. There will also be “increased swim penalties for swim behaviour and wetsuits limits are set higher for 60 years and older athletes.”

World Triathlon will also propose that the Olympic qualification period for the Paris Olympic Games will start on May 27, 2022 and end on May 27, 2024. The number of events and qualification criteria have yet to be finalized. The rules for the recently announced Esports World Championship Series are also a few weeks from being approved.