As announced about a month ago, Mixed Relays will be an official event at the 2020 Summer Olympics. This weekend see's the annual ITU WTS Series Mixed Relays in Hamburg. Can the Americans repeat their first ever Relays win?
After learning about triathlon in the late 90's, one of the first live events I saw on UK broadcast TV was the British Club Relays on Channel 4. It was fast and furious. Teams of Men, Women, and mixed teams all competing the same race, at the same time. Unlike the ITU Mixed Relays, the British Triathlon relays were all 4-members swim, one at a time, the last swimmer tags the first cyclist, all four compete the bike and the last tags the first runner and so on until the last runner has crossed the line. This helps avoid drafting on the bike as it splits up the field more. The last relays I attended, I think 2005, we took 17 TEAMS OF 4 people from our club, Tri-Force.
The ITU Mixed Relay, and thus the Olympics, is completely different. A much smaller field just one team from each country; and each competitor completes a super-sprint triathlon before handing over to the next. The smallest mistake, or s ingle great performance can result in a team loss or win. The whole thing is typically over in less than 90-minutes. Most of the competitors will have also raced in the ITU WTS Individual Sprint Championship round the day before.
I for one will be watching online, Tour de France be dammed. Here is a good video summary of last years Mixed Relays in Hamburg.
It's great to see that One Step Beyond(OSB), organisers of the Britsh Club Relays, partnering with the British Triathlon Federation to organize the first British Triathlon Mixed Relay Cup in September. I had coffee with Lance Panigutti of local race organizers Without Limits, to see if there was any scope to organize a Colorado or Boulder area relays event, sadly Lance didn't think so. Shame. I'll keep looking.