Following those action-packed WTCS Finals in Pontevedra, where Dorian Coninx and Beth Potter took the world championship titles, it’s time to look at who managed to snag a spot on the plane to Paris 2024 with their performances in Spain.
For many countries, the selection policy this season for the Olympic Games was written around last month’s Paris Olympic Test Event and then Pontevedra. That made those two events the focal point of the 2023 short-course calendar.
In our quick guide to what has changed after the men’s and women’s elite races on Saturday and Sunday, we look at the major countries and how their athletes performed to identify the athletes that took a little step closer to next year’s spectacle in the French capital. Or booked their spot on the plane.
Team Great Britain
- Despite his below-par performance in Pontevedra, Britain’s Alex Yee had already secured qualification for Paris 2024 with a win at the Test Event last month. His status as a returning medalist from Tokyo meant he didn’t need a result in Pontevedra.
- Beth Potter ticked both boxes of the selection policy, which required her to finish on the podium at the Test Event and WTCS Finals, a challenge the Scot tackled in emphatic fashion with two flawless victories at both events.
- For the rest of the British team, the selection journey continues, with Kate Waugh, Georgia Taylor-Brown and Sophie Coldwell causing a selection headache for the selection committee after all three secured WTCS podiums this season. Of course, that’s a nice headache to have. There’s also the potential for Jess Learmonth to make her case with a return in early 2024.
- On the men’s side, the final place(s) remain wide open, with Barclay Izzard the next best Brit behind Yee in the Olympic Rankings, though Jonathan Brownlee’s C.V. – and Super League form – will be a significant consideration, especially in relation to the Mixed Team Relay.
Team United States
- Having qualified for Paris 2024 at that recent Test Event, IRONMAN 70.3 World Champion Taylor Knibb did not race in Pontevedra, with the Boulder-based professional rumoured to be gearing up for the IRONMAN World Championship in Kona.
- Morgan Pearson, who also secured his slot in Paris, remains the only American man to have met the qualification criteria so far. Matthew McElroy has potentially the strongest claim for the next spot after his 16th-place finish in Pontevedra.
- The rest of the American women are fighting for the remaining places, with Kirsten Kasper, Taylor Spivey, Katie Zaferes and Gwen Jorgensen all falling short of the podium performance required in Pontevedra to secure a spot on the plane to France.
- Three athletes claimed their Olympic berths for 2024 in Pontevedra. Cassandre Beaugrand and new world champion Coninx confirmed their qualification after podiums in both Paris and Pontevedra, whilst Pierre Le Corre met the second tier of qualification criteria by finishing in the top eight at the Test Event and then clinching a podium in Pontevedra.
- Last year’s world champion Léo Bergere and young star Emma Lombardi, who both finished in the Top 8 at the Test Event, came up just short in Pontevedra. They finishing in fourth and sixth respectively, and must wait to earn their spots on the team.
- Following brilliant performances at the Paris Olympic Test Event, both Laura Lindemann (3rd) and Tim Hellwig (7th) had already booked their seats to the big dance next summer by virtue of meeting the selection criteria. That required them to finish in the top eight at Paris whilst being ranked in the World Top 30.
- Lasse Luhrs finished in fifth in Pontevedra to gain selection to the Olympic team, as the World #14 finished in the Top 8 in Spain whilst being in the World Top 30, but was not the first German across the line. Given that Tim Hellwig (second) had already qualified in Paris, that’s his Paris ticket stamped.
- Lisa Tertsch, despite serving a 15-second penalty, produced a terrific fourth-place finish in Pontevedra and as the World #20, looks set to be selected for the Olympic Games next summer.
- Having endured a tough Paris Olympic Test Event, Team Australia needed to bounce back in Pontevedra after coaching turmoil, COVID infections and poor performances dented the Aussie spirit last month in the French capital.
- Whilst no Australian women managed to crack the top 20 in Spain, with Natalie Van Coevorden their top finisher in 21st, Matt Hauser managed to pull out one of the bravest performances of the season to finish eighth and qualify for Paris 2024. Hauser was one of the athletes who missed the Test Event because of COVID.