A new year is upon us and what a year it’s going to be for triathlon.
The pro race line-up has never looked busier, with World Triathlon races, the new PTO events, Super League Triathlon, the Commonwealth Games, two Ironman world champs and a 70.3 world championship all to come.
How everything is going to turn out is anyone’s guess, but for the sake of entertainment, pride and bragging rights at the end of the year, the 220 team has decided to look into the crystal ball.
So below, you’ll find our predictions for what’s going to happen in the triathlon world in 2022.
Liz Barrett, deputy editor
Records will tumble
And many will be broken by the Norwegian team across middle and long distances, in both Ironman-branded races and the Sub7hr Challenge (date still TBC). What Kristian Blummenfelt was able to achieve in 2021 – Olympic, World Triathlon and Ironman world record titles – was just the start.
Birmingham will deliver a Commies for the ages!
By July restrictions will hopefully be all but gone and sports lovers from across the globe will be able to descend on Brum, which will host the UK’s biggest sporting spectacle since the London 2012 Games.
The triathlon takes place on 29 (men’s and women’s) and 31 July (mixed relay and PTV1) with, qualification-pending, four of the Tokyo medallists in action – Flora Duffy, Georgia Taylor-Brown, Alex Yee and Hayden Wilde. Plus, of course, the UK’s gold-medal winning mixed relay team and Dave Ellis and Luke Pollard hoping to make up for their mechanical woes at the Paralympics in the PTV1 category.
Helen Webster, editor
We’ll get back to a full season of racing
Last year saw a lot of rollover race entries, but in 2022 I predict we’ll see more people entering races afresh again and having a more complete year of triathlon. Covid safety measures are well established now and this should boost confidence in events. We may even see a bit more overseas travel to events (fingers crossed!).
The open-water swimming boom will filter into tri
Lots of newbies got into open-water swimming during the lockdowns for mental health reasons or to avoid the pool, so I predict this will translate into more people having the confidence to do their first triathlon. If you can do an open-water swim, then it all looks a lot less daunting!
Rob Slade, features editor
British competition will heat up
The strength in depth has long been a feature of the women’s side of British Triathlon and things are only going to heat up. Lucy Charles-Barclay has made clear her intention to dabble over shorter distances with an eye on Paris 2024, while up-and-coming athletes like Beth Potter and Sian Rainsley show signs of real promise.
Add them to the existing cohort of talented athletes and British Triathlon will have a headache deciding who to back for Paris 2024.
The lines between short and long-course athletes will blur
Triathletes competing on the World Triathlon circuit often wait until later in their career before they switch to long-course racing. We’ve seen it with Tim Don, Alistair Brownlee and now we’re watching as Javier Gomez makes the switch.
But late last year Vincent Luis, Kristian Blummenfelt and Jelle Geens tried their hand at distances they’ve not raced before. With three Ironman world championships (including 70.3) and a host of PTO events set to take place with large prize pots over the next 12 months, expect to see them and others attempt to make the jump early.
Kate Milsom, staff writer
Triathlon will go mainstream
Triathlon will finally start breaking more into the mainstream with the Commies and Olympics taking place in consecutive years. Adding to this will be a rise in more fast-paced and drama-filled esports racing, such as the likes of the new Esports World Championship Series from Super League Triathlon and World Triathlon.
Tri for everyone
The increase in outdoor sports experienced across the globe due to the Covid-19 pandemic will start to translate to an increase in popularity for more organised endurance sports like triathlon. More family members, old school friends, second cousins and neighbours will take up triathlon for a challenge and get the triathlon bug.
Martyn Brunt, columnist
Triathlon will step into the limelight
Following its spectacular introduction at the Olympics, the mixed team relay will be the most exciting event of the whole Commonwealth Games. Unfortunately I’ll miss most of it because I’m cycling over to watch it and I’ll underestimate how long it takes me to ride to Sutton Park.
Sticky miles will be hard to avoid
In my main long-distance race this year, while tearing the top of my energy gel off with my teeth, the sachet will split and spill its contents all over my hands, gluing me to my handlebars for the next 50 miles.
Tim Heming, columnist
Dave Ellis will get back to winning ways
I’m expecting a bumper haul of triathlon medals from Team England at the Commonwealth Games in July, and chief among them will be the visually impaired Dave Ellis in the only Paratriathlon class on show.
With support from guide Luke Pollard, Ellis won both the world and European titles in 2021 but was cruelly denied a chance of Paralympic gold in Tokyo after a bike mechanical. Expect it to be rectified on home soil in Birmingham.
There’ll be new faces on the Iron throne
We’ll be welcoming NEW Ironman world champions on both the men’s and the women’s side. Admittedly, I’ve two bites at the cherry for this one given there’s racing in Utah in May and Hawaii in October, but there’s too much talent coming through for Frodeno and Lange, and Ryf and Haug (your winners since 2015 onwards), to have it all their own way.
Think Norwegian for the men, British for the women, but don’t be surprised if the victors come from elsewhere too.
Top image credit: Thomas Samson/AFP via Getty Images