VICTORIA—Triathlon Canada will send a young, yet experienced, group of athletes to the start line for the Mixed Team Relay World Championships, which will be held during the prestigious World Triathlon Series stop, in Hamburg, Germany, July 15-16.
Recently crowned Canadian Champions, Tyler Mislawchuk (Oak Bluff, Man.) and Joanna Brown (Carp, Ont.), will be joined by Olympian Amelie Kretz (Blainville, Que.) and Alexis Lepage (Gatineau, Que.) for the spectator-friendly mixed team relay, which was officially named to the 2020 Olympic lineup earlier this month.
“Having another medal at the Olympic Games is a huge development for triathlon in our country, and I know this Canadian foursome is hungry to show they can be amongst the best teams in the world,” said Eugene Liang, High-Performance Director, Triathlon Canada, who added the national body’s goal is to field a full team of athletes for both the individual and mixed team relay events at the 2020 and 2024 Olympic Summer Games. “While we do have a unique opportunity in front of us, Triathlon Canada will not waver in our approach and investment in developing athletes focused on excelling in individual race disciplines. It is these top individual athletes who will also perform best when brought together in the mixed team relay format.”
The mixed team relay is one of the most thrilling events in triathlon, with teams of two men and two women each completing a short-course triathlon (300m swim, 8km bike, 2km run) before tagging off to their teammate to take on the next leg. With its rapid and unpredictable format, athletes love it and spectators enjoy it both onsite and on television, making it one of the most spectacular formats of the circuit.
Already working to align the relay initiative into the long-term high-performance plan, Triathlon Canada identified a pool of the nation’s top triathletes to battle for selection to represent Canada at the event’s first major test on the international stage since becoming an official Olympic medal discipline.
The young Canucks will bring their share of international experience with them to the start line.
Mislawchuk rattled off four, top-10 finishes on the World Triathlon Series last year before a 15th-place finish at the 2016 Olympics. Working his way back into international form following an injury following the Olympics, the 22-year-old showed promising signs he’s back on track with a strong performance at the National Championships in Ottawa.
Confident, healthy and fit, Joanna Brown is also looking continue her breakout season at the World Triathlon Series in two weeks. The 23-year-old is also the lone Canadian to earn a start in the individual race in Hamburg thanks to her two World Cup podiums earlier this spring.
Another 23-year-old, Alexis Lepage, secured his spot on the mixed relay team with a second-place finish at the national dance two weeks ago. A member of the National Development Team, Lepage has made steady progress in development level races around the world this spring.
Amelie Kretz, who made her Olympic debut with Mislawchuk last summer in Rio di Janeiro, rounds out the Canadian contingent. Kretz, who earned her Olympic spot with a career-best eighth-place finish on the World Triathlon Series last year in Yokohama, Japan, has also returned to international racing this month after recovering from injuries over the winter.
Matt Sharpe (Victoria) and Dominika Jamnicky (Guelph, Ont.), who both finished third at the Canadian Triathlon Championships, will also be heading over to Germany as Canadian Team alternates in the event of an injury or illness. Sharpe, who had injury earlier this year, has been making steady progress since his first World Cup podium last summer. Jamnicky has also had a solid spring with a gold medal at a CAMTRI Sprint American Cup event in Bermuda.
“Triathlon Canada has created a strategic performance plan focused on long term athlete development while ensuring the health of our athletes. We will work on gradual, and consistent development with this promising pool of athletes, with the ultimate goal of peaking in 2020 and 2024,” added Liang. “Now in the first year of a new Olympic quadrennial, we are welcoming back new athletes from injury into the daily training environment who are beginning to climb back into a elite form. We have complete confidence they will be competing at the highest level over the next few years.”
Head coach of the National Performance Centre in Victoria, Jono Hall, will guide the team in Hamburg.