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Bahrain’s ‘Victorious’ on its entry to Paris

13 athletes qualify for the 2024 Paris Olympics and Paralympics, ready to seek gold and glory, writes Lisa Pringle.

Already champions on the global stage, these warriors are ready to seek gold and glory on the sporting world’s biggest stage in Paris.

Great Britain has named both Georgia Taylor-Brown and Kate Waugh to its Olympic squad. Taylor-Brown brings a proven track record to Paris after her stunning performances in Tokyo produced a silver medal in the individual event and then gold in the mixed relay. She then replicated this medal haul at the 2022 Commonwealth Games. The two-time world champion displayed that winner’s mindset and work ethic in her comeback from injury and surgery – which had kept her from racing through most of 2023 – to show selectors why she should represent her nation.

She says, “Tokyo to Paris has been challenging! I’ve had some big highs to some really big lows... So yeah, a bit of everything in there. And here we are now, 2024 and leaving it to the very last minute to qualify for Paris. But I finally have love and excitement back for triathlon and I want to race hard and see what my body can do!”

Waugh is the 2022 mixed relay and U23 world champion and the 2023 Super League Triathlon series champion. Great Britain will lean on this super sprint pedigree as she makes her debut in Paris.

Tokyo 2020 mixed relay bronze medallist Cassandre Beaugrand is representing France on home soil at her third Olympic Games. In her element over the super sprint short distances, she has been part of the world championship-winning French mixed relay team four times and last year captured the world super sprint title. But a silver in the 2023 World Triathlon Championship Series and a career-first win over the Olympic distance last month in Cagliari indicates she is very much a contender for the individual event as well.

New Zealand’s Hayden Wilde will be looking to upgrade in Paris after taking home bronze in Tokyo. The 2023 super sprint world champion has been working his way upwards over the past Olympic cycle, taking silver medals at the 2022 Commonwealth Games and at last year’s World Triathlon Championships. 

Wilde says, “I feel pretty good heading into Paris, there’s always going to be a lot of expectations but for me I actually feel like I’m in a pretty good position.  I want to have the best race I possibly can, I’m feeling really good and just stoked about how the preparation is going and enjoying the process.”

Henri Schoeman has been a stalwart on the South Africa team since his Olympic debut at Rio 2016 where he won bronze. While injury plagued the Commonwealth Games gold medallist in Tokyo, he has since come back to add the 2023 World Triathlon Esports title to his collection.

Schoeman says, “The Olympics and preparation for it changed my life 8 years ago and five years later, very nearly ruined my life and career. This time around, I’m privileged to go into it having experienced both. I’m able to enjoy the process and see how fit and fast I can get for possibly my last Olympic Games.”

Lauren Parker has met the qualification criteria to represent Australia at the Paralympic Games not just for one sport, but two and will contend not just for one gold, but three. In Paris the paratriathlon will be raced on a Monday, while the para cycling time trial and road race events will take place just two days later – and Parker has made it her mission to race all three the hardest and best she can. The Tokyo silver medallist is a world paratriathlon champion four times over as well as the 2023 para cycling time trial world champion, but also has Ironman and Ironman 70.3 world titles to her name. 

These six athletes now turn their eyes toward the prize in Paris and the work they have before them to prepare for the performance of their lives.

Photo Credit: World Triathlon

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