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Morgan Pearson wins Americas Championships as Katie Zaferes Olympic dream suffers a blow in Miami

Katie Zaferes sees her Paris ambitions suffer a major blow at the Americas Triathlon Championships in Miami.

Staff Reporter
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It was a mixed day for Team USA veterans Morgan Pearson and Katie Zaferes at the Americas Triathlon Championships in Miami, as the pair enjoyed differing fortunes over the Olympic distance event.

Both Olympic medalists lined up for their first races of the season in Florida, but it was only Pearson who made it to the finish line, as the Boulder based pro beat compatriots Darr Smith and John Reed to the title.

Despite leading into T2, Zaferes unfortunately was forced to withdraw on the run, with that result leaving her in a precarious position as the race for the remaining spots on Team USA’s Olympic team hots up.

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Pearson flawless in first race of the season

For Pearson, the race will be a massive confidence boost ahead of a huge season, with the Tokyo Olympian exiting the water in the front pack and never looking back.

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

In a huge field of over 80 athletes, the former Colorado University Buff was in control throughout, leading off the bike in the main pack before unleashing his trademark run speed to take a comfortable win.

Opting to miss the first WTCS race of the year in Abu Dhabi, which ended up being cancelled, now looks to be a stroke of genius from the American, after he managed to test his legs without the rigamarole of a long haul flight.

If he can stay healthy, Pearson is without a doubt one of the contenders for a medal in the individual race in Paris, and will surely also be looking to upgrade his silver medal from the Mixed Team Relay in Tokyo.

Zaferes struggles in the heat and has a mountain to climb

Coming into this race, Zaferes was the #7 ranked American woman and having not gained any points in Miami, now looks set to struggle to get a spot on the start list at the crucial WTCS Yokohama in May.

Katie Zaferes WTCS Montreal 2023 on the run
Photo Credit: Jamos M. Schmidt / World Triathlon

According to her husband Tommy Zaferes, she had a solid swim and lead off the bike with a Canadian athlete into T2, where the pair had a two minute lead over the rest of the field.

However, from there, things seemingly started to fall apart, with Tommy reporting that Zaferes “melted on the run and couldn’t continue”. Gina Sereno, the American #6, finished in seventh place.

With the US only given five slots in Yokohama, and five of the six athletes ahead of her (Taylor Knibb is already qualified) chasing Olympic qualification, it will be very hard, but not impossible, for Zaferes to get the chance to race in Japan.

A lot can happen in two months, but as it stands, the double Olympic medalist is not in the best position to qualify for the games in Paris this summer.

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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