TRI247
Search
shop

Taylor Spivey reveals major Olympic triathlon fear as Paris qualification decision looms large

She missed out in controversial circumstances ahead of the Tokyo Olympics, here's Taylor Spivey's take on US qualification for Paris.

News Director
Last updated -
SHOP

Taylor Spivey already feels that the final key qualification race to earn an Olympics spot on the ultra-competitive US women’s team is in danger of being massively compromised.

Taylor Knibb is the only American woman to have booked her berth for Paris 2024, by virtue of her fifth-placed finish in the Test Event this year.

That leaves two places up for grabs, with seven other Americans in the top 60 of the Olympic rankings, in addition to Knibb.

Spivey leads the way in third, with Summer Rappaport (13), Kirsten Kasper (21), Erika Ackerlund (35), Gwen Jorgensen (40), Katie Zaferes (44) and Gina Sereno (56) all harbouring hopes themselves.

Advertisement

‘Same situation going into Yokohama’

Spivey of course missed out in hugely controversial fashion ahead of Tokyo in 2021 and speaking to Tim Ford on the latest Talking Triathlon podcast she admitted she fears a similar scenario playing out next year, especially given some potential dynamics she identified around WTCS Yokohama in May.

She explained: “It’s tricky because I guess going into Tokyo, you had COVID, which totally changed everything else in terms of how people qualified and who should or shouldn’t be qualified, in my opinion. 

“And I think it created a big challenge for federations and at the end of the day, I was left off the team and a team I kind of think I should have been on. 

“But going into the Paris qualification, so Taylor Knibb has already qualified, which means for the females, we have two more spots and the next qualification event will be in Yokohama in mid May. So the first American podium will get one spot and then the next spot will be discretionary. And if no Americans podium, then both of the spots will be discretionary. 

However, it’s kind of almost playing out like it did leading into Tokyo, where the dynamics of the race really changed. 

“Leading into Tokyo, because of COVID a lot of countries didn’t want to go to this race, so it ended up lowering the quality of field. There was no breakaway, which is very likely in the Olympics because the quality of field is more spread out. So there are all these factors that go into it. 

“And now I’m starting to realise it’s kind of the same situation going into Yokohama, our qualification event this upcoming year, because, for instance, the British qualification race is actually going to be two weeks after in Cagliari, so they don’t want any of their athletes travelling super far away in an Olympic year. 

“So that means all these athletes who generally affect the race tremendously won’t be there. And so it’s just kind of making me scratch my head why this continues to happen. And why this is our qualification race [when] the dynamics of the Olympics is going to be completely different.”

Double peak ‘very difficult’

And Spivey isn’t alone – Brit Kate Waugh has spoken in a similar vein – in wondering why athletes who don’t qualify automatically the year before potentially have their Olympic build-up compromised.

Spivey points out: “I think if you’re looking to perform peak at the Olympics, you can’t also peak in May. That’s very difficult.  And I guarantee, almost, that any European athlete who has already qualified for the Olympics, say on the German team or anyone within the top 30 of the World Triathlon rankings, I don’t think they’re going to be in Yokohama unless they need to still qualify.

“I don’t know if there’s much strategy behind it – of course it would be reassuring to know now, okay there’s discretionary spots and we’re going to give them to these athletes based on their performances over the last three years. But that’s not the case, unfortunately. I wish it had been going into Tokyo and I wish it was the case going into Paris.”

Amazing consistency

Spivey also revealed that she raced through pain in the WTCS Grand Final in Pontevedra to make sure that she retained her high WTCS ranking for the 2023 season.

Her 16th place there was only the second time since May 2018 that she’s been outside the top 10 in an individual ITU / WTCS event, an incredible stat over the course of more than five years and one which underlines her Olympic credentials.

She said: “I went into that race with a stress reaction, and I actually wasn’t sure if I was going to finish that race, but I somehow did and I held onto my fourth place in the standings this year, which was the main goal of doing that race. Otherwise, I do not recommend racing on a stress reaction.”

Taylor Spivey - WTCS Abu Dhabi 2023 podium (third)
Photo Credit: Wagner Araujo / World Triathlon

Progress since has been encouraging as she builds up to the pivotal 2024 campaign: “Apart from Pontevedra – and Neom for Super League – I otherwise I took a lot of time off running, which allowed it to heal, which is good because I’m on my third or fourth week of running now, and I’ve just slowly been progressing.

“I’ve been monitoring the overall distance that I’ve been running and how it’s been feeling, and I have no pain anymore, which is great.”

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.  
Discover more
Sumarpo vanguard vs Zone 3 Vanquish X triathlon wetsuits
ZONE3 Vanquish X wetsuit vs Sumarpo Vanguard wetsuit – how do these triathlon wetsuits match up?
Essential Beginner's Triathlon Gear & KIt
Triathlon gear for beginners: essential kit for getting started
open water swimming Sumarpo wetsuit
How to improve swimming endurance – PRO tips to help you swim further in open water
sumarpo triathlon swimming wetsuit
Wetsuit buying guide – How to choose the best wetsuit for triathlon, open water swimming, SwimRun and cold water
Aviles Duathlon
What is a duathlon? Beginner’s guide to distances, training plans and kit
latest News
Alex Yee WTCS Pontevedra 2023
Olympic Games triathlon: British gold medal favourite Alex Yee warms up for Paris 2024 with another win
Hannah Berry took the win at IRONMAN Cairns in Queensland,
IRONMAN Cairns 2024 Results: Burton and Berry take Asia-Pacific titles as Skipper misses podium
Lucy Charles-Barclay IRONMAN World Championship Kona 2023 Finish
IRONMAN France 2024 results: Lucy Charles-Barclay validates World Championship spot with CRAZY run
Gustav Iden Kona athlete sign in 2022 photo credit Donald Miralle for IRONMAN
Gustav Iden shares heartfelt message after major milestone on the journey back to the top
Sam Long celebrates at the San Francisco T100.
Sam Long targeting two major T100 races after season break to resolve personal problems
triathlon on your terms
Never miss out with our triathlon alerts & digest. Get a dose of adventure & inspiration with Boundless.
Invalid email address
The SBRX Group

Proudly elevating endurance sports through content, products & services

SBRX
RUN247
GET RACE READY - SHOP WITH SBRX
GET RACE READY - BUY WITH SBRX
Share to...