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How can the top US triathletes qualify for the Paris Olympic Games at WTCS Yokohama?

A full rundown of how athletes can qualify for the US Olympic team for Paris this weekend at WTCS Yokohama.

Staff Reporter
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This weekend, WTCS Yokohama will present the opportunity for some of best athletes in the sport to test themselves on the world stage, and for others to clinch their Olympic triathlon dreams as we head to Paris 2024.

For the Team USA athletes racing in Japan, Yokohama is more than just another race. A podium at this event will be enough to secure their spot at the Paris Olympic Games this summer.

In our rundown of the selection policy below, we explain who needs what to qualify, and what will happen afterwards to fill all five seats on the plane to the French capital in July.

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Who will be racing in Yokohama?

The racing takes place at WTCS Yokohama this weekend on Saturday May 11, with both the men and women racing over the Olympic distance, which consists of a 1500m swim, 40km bike and 10km run.

Morgan Pearson Paris Test Event [Photo credit: World Triathlon / Wagner Araujo]
[Photo credit: World Triathlon / Wagner Araujo]

In Japan, there will be five men and five women from Team USA racing. On the women’s side, the athletes racing are Taylor Knibb, Gwen Jorgensen, Taylor Spivey, Summer Rappaport and Kirsten Kasper. On the men’s side, the athletes are Morgan Pearson, Matthew McElroy, Kevin McDowell, Seth Rider and Darr Smith.

One thing worth noting ahead of the race, is that Pearson and Knibb have both already been selected for the Olympic team, having secured their slots at the Paris Test Event last year. Therefore, whilst 10 American athletes are racing, only eight will be chasing Paris qualification.

What do they need in Yokohama?

Taylor Spivey Olympic Test Event Paris 2023 [Photo credit: World Triathlon / Wagner Araujo]
[Photo credit: World Triathlon / Wagner Araujo]

The athletes seeking Olympic qualification will need to be “the first U.S athlete to finish in the top-3 who have not already qualified”. That means that if Spivey finishes in second and Jorgensen in third for example, Spivey will be the only athlete awarded an automatic spot.

For the men and the women, there will be one spot available on the team in Japan. The remaining slots, be it just the one or all three, will be decided following the close of the Olympic Qualification period on June 27. The full U.S Olympic Triathlon Team will be announced in June.

The discretionary places mean that an athlete such as Katie Zaferes, who is not on the start list for Yokohama but will race later this month at WTCS Cagliari, could be selected to the team. Whatever happens on Saturday, one of the women’s spots will be filled as a discretionary selection.

Tomos Land
Written by
Tomos Land
Tomos Land is a triathlon & running journalist whose expertise lies in the professional world of short course & long distance triathlon, though he also boasts an extensive knowledge of ultra-running.

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