On Saturday the first triathlon medals of the London 2012 Olympics will have been awarded. And while many are predicting that the men’s race will ultimately come down to a battle for bronze behind the Brownlee brothers, the women’s race is wide open. So who should we be looking out for on the startline this Saturday? Well, here is an overview of the main contenders for triathlon Gold at the London 2012 Olympics.
Current WTS Ranking: 6
2008 and 2011 World Champion, the first British woman to qualify for triathlon at the Olympics and yet to finish outside of the top two in 2012. Like so many athletes, Helen Jenkins has geared the last twelve months around the race on Saturday. What’s more, British Triathlon has given her a ‘team’ that they think will propel her to gold. Even without a team the Welsh star has proved time and time again that she is capable of competing with – and beating – the very best in the world. She’s raced a few times this year, structuring everything around this one race, and everything seems to be going to plan. What’s more, with vociferous home support, there’s a very good chance she will be taking home a medal on Saturday.
Current WTS Ranking: 1
Always dangerous, always mixing it up at the business end of the field, Andrew Hewitt has had a consistent – although less-than-spectacular – start to 2012. Joint second in the 2011 World Championships (and winner of the Grand Final), Hewitt has taken third three-times in 2012 but has shown repeatedly she can step up and deliver when it matters. It will be interesting to see how she fares against this field – all of whom she has beaten.
Current WTS Ranking: 2
Without a doubt the surprise package of 2012. After a couple of seasons of injury and serious illness, Erin Densham has found her way back to the top of world triathlon. When the Aussie smashed some of the best in the world at Mooloolaba, we all wondered whether she just had ‘one of those races’. She hadn’t; it was an ominous sign of things to come. Densham is yet to finish outside the top three of an Olympic distance race in 2012 and has beaten Helen Jenkins once – in Sydney. In possession of an outstanding kick, if she’s with the leaders going into the last kilometre of the run she will be an undoubted favourite for Gold.
Current WTS Ranking: 3
Trained by Brett Sutton, Spirig has had perhaps the most unorthodox build-up to the London 2012 Olympics of any of the main contenders for Gold. Because while a lot of athletes have been winding back their races and preparing for this Saturday, Nicola Spirig has been doing anything but. First place finishes in Kitzbuhel and Madrid were followed by an impressive win at Ironman 70.3 Switzerland six weeks ago (she beat Caroline Steffen by just over three minutes). With Sutton now coaching her with the specific aim of taking gold in London, she has to be considered a very real contender for the top step of the podium.
Current WTS Ranking: 5
Okay, so Emma Moffatt isn’t having the best year of her life. But World Championship wins in 2009 and 2010 (not to mention a bronze medal in Beijing) underline that she’s more than capable of performing on the big stage. Her recent outing at the sprint distance ITU WTS in Hamburg saw her take second behind Densham, which showed that things are moving in the right direction for the Aussie after a string of disappointing finishes (by her own high standards).
Current WTS Ranking: Not Ranked
Injury plagued at the end of 2011, Paula Findlay is yet to complete an ITU race in 2012 (hence the non-ranking). However, she is very much part of the Canadian team heading to London 2012 and she has an excellent chance of medalling at the Games. Before the hip injury that destroyed the end of her 2011 season, Findlay had claimed a hat-trick of wins in Sydney, Madrid and Kitzbuhel and was undoubtedly the athlete to beat. Rumour has it she’s back to her best, and without the weight of expectation on her shoulders she is more than capable of posing a huge threat on race day.
Others to look out for:
Lisa Norden: Consistently very, very good, Norden is capable of beating the best when she brings it all together. She has struggled on and off with injury, but seems to be coming back to form at the right time.
Barbara Riveros Diaz: Burst onto the top table of triathlon in 2010 with a string of wins, Riveros Diaz remains a threat despite a recent dip in form. She left coach Darren Smith at the start of the year and is quietly coming back to form.
FILED UNDER: Features / Olympics TAGS: 2012 / About / Andrea-Hewitt / athlete / Barbara-Riveros-Diaz / Contender / Emma Moffatt / Erin Densham / Helen Jenkins / informaton / Lisa-Norden / London / Nicola-Spirig / Olympics / Triathlon