Olympic triathlon qualification: the pathways to Paris 2024

The new year is here and the Paris 2024 qualification picture is beginning to clear for some of the athletes chasing the 55 men’s and 55 women’s berths on the Olympic start line.

The qualification routes to Paris are numerous, always with a maximum of three athletes per gender per country. Based on the Mixed Relay as well as individual Olympic rankings, there’s also the Mixed Relay Olympic Qualification event Huatulco, New Flag positions (for the top-ranked athletes on each continent from countries not already qualified) and up to two Tripartite invitations per gender will be awarded after the 27 May deadline.

Before which there now remain three World Triathlon Championship Series events, six World Triathlon Cups, three Continental Championships and a Continental Games at which the athletes can earn points for the individual qualification rankings and contribute to their second-period scores, plus two Mixed Relay Series events, a Mixed Relay Qualification event and a Continental Mixed Relay in Oceania. The race for places is heating up.

With 4-6 races from the first qualification period and 6-8 second-period scores (up to a total of 12 races) taken into account in the hunt for positions, every place can count when the final tallies are totted up at the end of May. The points available at the remaining races can be found here. (Each spot goes to that country, rather than the athletes in those places, so the final selection ultimately remains in the hands of the federations and NOCs.)

French and German teams taking shape

To qualify the maximum number of men and/or women, there must be three of that gender inside the top 30 of the Olympic Ranking as of 27 May 2024. France, USA, Great Britain, Germany are currently on course to qualify three women, Hungary, Spain, France and Germany looking most likely to take three men as it stands – early 2024 form will be critical in catching the selectors’ eyes.

The French names all but confirmed are the men’s 2023 World Champion Dorian Coninx, the women’s runner up in the Series Cassandre Beaugrand and Championship Finals bronze medallist Pierre Le Corre. The man currently in number one spot in the Olympic rankings but yet to hit their criteria to qualify is another Frenchman; 2022 world champion Leo Bergere.

After a huge 2023 for German triathlon, Laura Lindemann, Lisa Tertsch, Nina Eim, Lasse Luhrs and Tim Hellwig have all fulfilled their federation’s criteria to qualify for Paris thanks to their respective results in the Test Event and Pontevedra Finals, while who could take a third men’s spot remains in the balance.

Brazil’s Manoel Messias, Csongor Lehmann of Hungary and Netherlands’ Maya Kingma and Rachel Klamer have all fulfilled their NF criteria and booked their starts at Paris 2024, the Dutch legend looking likely to be joined by husband Richard Murray. Alex Yee and Beth Potter’s victories in the Paris Test Event saw them become the first names on that provisional Team GB squad, the second male currently Barclay Izzard (rank 44) with Jonathan Brownlee just three spots lower.

Pearson and Knibb set to star for USA

As he was ahead of Tokyo 2020,  Morgan Pearson became the first US male to confirm his spot, Taylor Knibb the only American woman with her place set after both finished inside the top 7 at the Test Event. That means the chase is now on for the likes of Matthew McElroy (16) and Seth Rider (38), Taylor Spivey (3) and the five other American women currently inside the top 50 – including Rio 2016 Champion Gwen Jorgensen and Tokyo 2020 bronze medalist Katie Zaferes.

Oceania’s first confirmed athlete is Australian Matthew Hauser with compatriot Natalie Van Coevorden the top-ranked Australian woman, while New Zealand’s Ainsley Thorpe and Nicole Van Der Kaay, Hayden Wilde and Dylan McCullough are currently inside the top 50. Miriam Casillas Garcia and Antonio Serrat Seoane are Spain’s ‘pre-qualifiers’ almost certainly assured of a start, Jeanne Lehair is all set for an exciting Olympic debut for Luxembourg, likewise Rosa Maria Tapia Vidal for Mexico.

Getting real for the return of Olympic Mixed Relay

At the start of 2024 we have already seen some significant confirmations of places. As hosts, France automatically received 2 men’s and two women’s spots to field a relay team. That meant that when they won the 2022 Mixed Relay World Championships in Montreal (which also saw 2 men and 2 women’s spots in Paris on the line), it was the team in second – Great Britain – who also guaranteed two men’s and two women’s berths for the Olympic Mixed Relay on 5 August.

Team Germany was crowned World Champions in Hamburg and secured 2+2 Paris places. Now, the top six countries on the Mixed Relay Rankings on 25 March 2024 will receive 2 places per gender, rolling down to the next eligible if a higher team is already qualified (eg. France, GB, Germany). The top two nations at the Mixed Relay Qualification Event in Huatulco not already guaranteed a team in Paris will also secure 2+2 places, making it a potentially massive day in Mexico for the likes of Team Hungary, Japan and indeed Mexico to potentially qualify a team.

110 men and women, five continents, only two individual champions

Two male and two female Universality Places will be awarded by the Tripartite Commission, and continental representation will be ensured through the New Flag route, where one place is awarded to the highest ranking NOC from each continent not yet qualified as of 27 May 2024 (in the priority order; Africa, Americas, Asia, Europe, Oceania).

At the turn of 2024, that means for the women Ekaterina Shabalina (KAZ) or Bailee Brown (HKG) in contention for the Asia slot and a possible three-way battle of Slovakian talent with Ivana Kuriackova, Zuzana Michalickova and Romana Gajdosova vying for a European slot along with Melanie Santos (POR) and Tilda Mansson (SWE).

Shanae Williams (RSA) and Manami Iijima (GUM) lead the way in the Africa and Oceania chase, while Argentina’s Romina Biagioli could take the slot for the Americas with Raquel Solis Guerrero (CRC) over 300 points behind.

Men’s New Flag opens new doors

These names are far from an exhaustive list of contenders, however, and what happens in the places higher up the ranking over the coming months will of course change things up considerably. For the European men’s New Flag for example, Felix Duchampt (ROU) lies in that slot, but could qualify within the Olympic Rankings alone and therefore that place could roll to Vitalii Vorontsov (UKR) or Panagiotis Bitados, the Greek talent who didn’t race in the first period.

Matthew Wright (BAR) looks well set for the Americas’ spot, Jean Gael Laurent L’entete (MRI) and Siefeldeen Ismail (EGY) are competing for the Africa New Flag and another Hong Kong athlete, Jason Tai Long Ng, and Ayan Beisenbayev (KAZ) could be battling it out for the Asia slot. With no Oceania male in or near the top-180 cut-off, that slot looks set to go to the highest non-qualified athlete on the Olympic Rankings.

Triathlon Today will report on all races:

8 March – World Triathlon Championship Series Abu Dhabi (UAE)
11 May – World Triathlon Championship Series Yokohama (JPN)
25-26 May – World Triathlon Championship Series Cagliari (ITA)

24 February – World Triathlon Cup Napier (NZL)
24 March – World Triathlon Cup Hong Kong (HKG)
20 April – World Triathlon Cup Wollongong (AUS)
29 April – World Triathlon Cup Chengdu (CHN)
18-19 May – World Triathlon Cup Samarkand (UZB)
18-19 May – World Triathlon Cup Huatulco (MEX)

16 March – African Games Accra (GHA)
16 March – Oceania Triathlon Sprint Championships Devonport (AUS)
14 April – Oceania Triathlon Championships Napier (NZL)
21 April – Asia Triathlon Championships Hatsukaichi (JPN)

25 February – World Triathlon Mixed Relay Series Napier (NZL)
9 March – World Triathlon Mixed Relay Series Abu Dhabi (UAE)
17 March – Oceania Triathlon Mixed Relay Championships Devonport (AUS)
17 May – World Triathlon Mixed Relay Olympic Qualification Event Huatulco (MEX)