WTCS more competitive than Olympics? Joe Skipper on the selection process as Sophie Coldwell the latest to miss out

Sophie Coldwell and Vincent Luis have been two big-name casualties of triathlon's Olympic selection process - Joe Skipper has his say.

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British long-course star Joe Skipper is among many triathlon stars to have weighed into the debate over Sophie Coldwell‘s omission from Team GB’s team for the Olympic Games.

British Triathlon had the enviable dilemma – or unenviable depending on your perspective – of finalising which three of their four female athletes in the top 15 of the world rankings would go to Paris for the big dance.

Beth Potter had already booked her place thanks to her stunning 2023 which saw her win the Paris Test Event and become World Champion for the first time.

But that left it two from three out of Georgia Taylor-Brown, Kate Waugh and Coldwell – with many other talented athletes not far off the pace either.


A flawed concept?

Coldwell was the desperately unlucky one – and will now be on the sidelines despite being ranked far higher than the majority of the 55 athletes who will line up on the banks of the River Seine on July 31.

Vincent Luis of France must feel similarly aggrieved – the host nation has four men in the top 25 of the world rankings and he’s a two-time World Champion.

All of which is something Skipper feels detracts from the individual races at the Olympics.

In response to Coldwell’s Instagram reaction, he said: “The problem with the Olympic triathlon is you aren’t watching the best athletes compete as a lot of the top countries have more than 3 athletes that could medal and personally I think something should be done about that.

“As a spectator you want to see the best battle it out and it’s a shame that ultimately a WTCS race can get a more competitive field than an Olympic Games.

“Hope you are able to bounce back from this and have a successful 2nd half of the year!”

Joe Skipper IRONMAN Lake Placid Results 2023
Joe Skipper wins IRONMAN Lake Placid 2023 (Patrick McDermott, Getty Images for IRONMAN).

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The bigger picture

All valid points and worthy of discussion but, as many have pointed out, the Olympics is a very different beast.

Triathlon – with just one individual event for men and women, plus the Mixed Relay – puts things into sharper focus.

While the likes of British Cycling have had to pick between knights of the realm Chris Hoy and Jason Kenny for specific events, they’ve both had still had opportunities at the same Games.

And many of the shorter track events in athletics could end up being monopolised by the likes of Team USA and Jamaica if they were based on world rankings.

But could a better balance be found, especially for a sport that has just such a limited window?

Or is the USA’s much-debated policy of a clear-cut Olympic Track and Field Trials meet before the Olympics actually much fairer to all concerned?

Jonathan Turner
Written by
Jonathan Turner
Jonathan Turner is News Director for both TRI247 and RUN247, and is accustomed to big-name interviews, breaking news stories and providing unrivalled coverage for endurance sports.  
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