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Sophie Coldwell heartbroken and “angry” after missing out on Olympic Games triathlon spot at Paris 2024

In a strong statement following her Paris 2024 omission, British star says she believed she "had done enough" to merit selection.

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Sophie Coldwell says she is “angry” and feels “let down by my federation” after she was left out of Team GB’s women’s triathlon team for the upcoming Olympic Games triathlon in Paris.

Great Britain had qualified the maximum three women but, such is their strength in depth, there were some very difficult choices to be made.

Beth Potter had already booked her spot through her performances last year, leaving Georgia Taylor-Brown, Kate Waugh and Coldwell battling for the remaining two spots.

The three-person GB selection panel decided those two discretionary picks and Coldwell was the one to miss out, just as she had in Tokyo in 2021 when she travelled as a reserve.

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Cagliari race at centre of debate

Coldwell helped England to Mixed Team Relay gold at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, won her first WTCS event in Yokohama in 2023 and stands at number eight, four spots above Waugh, in the Olympic rankings.

British Triathlon had said that the WTCS race in Cagliari last month was a “priority race” and Coldwell finished seventh there, with Waugh in 10th (and GTB sixth).

And it appears that point was integral to Coldwell appealing the decision, as she explained in the statement she posted on her Instagram page.

That read: “My thoughts on the Olympic selection…

“Firstly I want to say congratulations to everyone who is qualified for the games. I wish you the best of luck for the summer.

“But for me, I’m disappointed, I’m sad but above all I’m angry at my federation.

“After the original selection was made. It became clear that I needed to appeal so with the help of those closest to me and my lawyers the appeal was submitted. We then found out we won the appeal, the arbitrator approved it on the grounds of ‘failing to follow the selection policy’. The panel failed to priorities [sic] and accordingly weight their priority event Cagliari. And, although it couldn’t be approved on the grounds of bias it was commented that there were some unfair and bias comments throughout the selection meeting notes.”

Sophie Coldwell WTCS Cagliari 2024
Sophie Coldwell finished seventh in Cagliari [Photo Credit: Tommy Zaferes / World Triathlon]
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’19 pages of lip service’

Coldwell continued: “The panel would have to meet again, to redo selection and use their policy properly. I knew it would be an uphill battle to get them to admit they had made a mistake but I thought a fair and competent panel would get it right. But no, still not enough. This was never a personal attack against other athletes but against a federation who ultimately decides who’s dreams are made or not, and unfortunately, I wasn’t on the right side of the decision.

After reading the selection notes, I’m even more angry and disappointed in the federation, 19 pages of lip service.

Sophie Coldwell on her omission from Team GB’s Paris squad

“After spending the last two years doing everything possible to make that team, I thought I had ticked the boxes the federation asked of me, I believed I’d done enough. I didn’t want to be in this position, feeling let down by my federation by their process and inability to follow a selection policy. It’s been a awful couple of weeks but above all I want to make sure those who follow me in the future won’t ever be in this same position.”

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An ‘incredibly difficult decision’ say British Triathlon

After seeing Coldwell’s reaction, we reached out to British Triathlon for their response and a spokesperson told us: “The decision not to select Sophie Coldwell was an incredibly difficult one that the panel only reached after much discussion and deliberation.

“Sophie is a world class athlete, as demonstrated by her training and racing results, and her omission simply reflects the strength of our female programme. We will continue to support Sophie and understand her disappointment. We will work with her towards her races across the rest of the year.

“2024 World Triathlon Championship Series Cagliari was stated as a priority race on which decisions could be made as part of the selection policy, however it was not a qualification race to determine selection.

“Whilst the performances and results from this race were part of the discussions during the selection meeting and given the additional weight that its priority status requires, there was no distinct difference that could be made between athletes on this race alone. Therefore, the full range of criteria were discussed in coming to the final selection decisions.”

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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