Olivia Mathias: Background, career highlights, quotes

Welsh triathlete Olivia Mathias is yet another British one to watch, with Commonwealth, U23 and World Cup podiums to her name. Here's everything you need to know about the Welsh wonder…

Olivia Mathias racing for Wales at the 2022 Commonwealth Games triathlon in Birmingham

Over the past decade, and across a range of formats, Olivia Mathias has proved herself to be a versatile triathlete, a committed individual and uber-reliable team player with a sizeable medal haul to her name.

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Her biggest triumph to date is a Commonwealth Games silver earned in the red of her native Wales. Let’s find out more…

Who is Olivia Mathias?

Olivia Mathias tasted major success at an early point in her triathlon career. In her first championships in 2014, the then 15-year-old was part of the three-strong British junior women’s relay squad who emerged triumphant at the European championships in Russia. Plenty of medals have dropped her way since.

A strong all-rounder with a particular prowess on the swim which often gives her an early advantage in races, Mathias has had to make plenty of room in the trophy cabinet over the years.

Success has come in a variety of ways: both nationally and internationally, at sprint and Olympic distance, both individually and in relay.

Originally hailing from Llanelli but resident in Loughborough for a good few years now, Mathias’ proudest moment of her triathlon career so far has surely come in the red of Wales.

At the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, she lined up alongside the just-about-to-retire Non Stanford as part of the Welsh mixed relay team. At the previous Commonwealths on the Gold Coast in 2018, the squad had only managed sixth.

This time around, the Cymru crew took silver, resisting the challenge of defending champions Australia in a sprint finish.

The gold went to England, which meant it was a double celebration in the Mathias household, her partner being England’s anchor leg (and Olympic silver medallist), Alex Yee.

How old is Olivia Mathias?

Olivia Mathias was born on October 12 1998, making her 24 years of age.

Olivia Mathias’ career highlights

Oliva Mathias, far left front, on the podium at the 2016 World Mixed U23/Junior Relay Champs in Cozumel, Mexico. (Credit: Janos Schmidt/ITU)

June 2014: European gold at the age of 15

As part of the GB youth women relay team in the European championships in Penza in Russia, Mathias takes the first gold of her career alongside team-mates Sophie Alden and Kate Waugh. They are the only trio to dip under the hour mark.

Twelve months later, Mathias is part of the trio that takes another European medal, this time a silver one.

August 2015: Hungry for success in Hungary

At the Junior European Cup race in the Hungarian town of Tiszaújváros, Mathias takes her best individual win to date.

She records the fastest bike split and holds on to take the victory from the fast-arriving specialist runner, her compatriot Bronwen Owen.

July 2016: Further European Cup success

Still a junior, Mathias notches up another victory in the European Cup, this time in Holten in the Netherlands. Again, she holds off the challenge of fellow Welshwoman Owen, this time by just two seconds.

August 2016: Her first national title

Mathias becomes British junior sprint champion with victory in Liverpool. Still 17, her performance also earns her bronze in the elite placings behind gold medallist Jess Learmonth.

September 2016: A world championship silver

Olivia Mathias embraces her silver-medal winning teammates at the 2016 World Mixed U23/Junior Relay Champs in Cozumel, Mexico. (Credit: Delly Carr/ITU)

At the 2016 U23/Junior World Championships in Cozumel, the British quartet, containing Mathias, Kate Waugh, Ben Dijkstra and Calum Johnson, take silver after a sprint finish against Spain’s golden bunch. It’s Mathias’ first global medal.

August 2017: First top-five elite finish

No longer a junior, Mathias secures her first top-five placing as an elite when she takes fifth in a European Cup sprint race in Malmö.

July 2018: Strong showing at the Euros

At the European championships in the Estonian city of Tartu, Mathias finishes an impressive fifth, with gold going to her GB team-mate Sophie Coldwell.

October 2018: Medal double at the U23 Euros

Mathias enjoys a productive few days in the resort of Eilat in southern Israel. She takes bronze in the women’s race while, the following day, she’s part of the silver-winning mixed relay team.

May 2019: A maiden international win as an elite

In the Polish city of Olsztyn, Mathias registers her first victory as part of the elite corps when she breaks the tape in a European Cup sprint race.

September 2019: Double world champs silver

Olivia Mathias with her U23 World Champs silver medal at the 2019 ITU World Triathlon Grand Final in Lausanne, Switzerland. (Credit: Jörg Schüler/Getty Images)

Two days after winning silver in the U23 World Champs at the ITU Grand Final in Lausanne, Mathias plays a key role in the British team to secure a second silver in the U23/Junior Mixed Relay World Champs, beaten only by a super-strong New Zealand outfit.

June 2021: A brace of European medals in the Alps

Mathias returns home from the European sprint championships in Kitzbühel with two medals in her luggage. The first is a silver in the U23 competition, earned by her fifth place in the women’s elite race.

Two days later, she becomes a European champion again (after her 2014 success) when the GB mixed relay team takes gold.

July 2021: Further European Cup victories

Back in Tiszaújváros, a happy hunting-ground six years earlier, Mathias takes victory in the European Cup, set up by an excellent sub-10 swim.

July 2022: A Commonwealth Games silver

L-R: Iestyn Harrett, Olivia Mathias, Dominic Coy and Non Stanford of Team Wales, having won mixed team relay silver at the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games. (Credit David Ramos/Getty Images)

Having finished seventh in the women’s race two days earlier (in her second Commonwealth Games), Mathias lines up as a key member of the Wales mixed relay squad.

It’s an impressive performance, with Wales beating defending champions Australia and Mathias posting a time quicker than either Georgia Taylor-Brown or Sophie Coldwell, the two women in the gold medal-winning England team.

Also in the England quartet is Alex Yee, who just happens to be Mathias’s partner. Yee had promised her that the couple could get a Labrador if they both reached the podium, but soon reneges on the wager. “We never shook on it!”

October 2022: Bronze in Japan

L-R: Ilaria Zane (2nd), Alberte Kjær Pedersen (1st) and Olivia Mathias (3rd) on the podium at the 2022 World Triathlon Cup Miyazaki. (Credit: World Triathlon)

Finishes third at the World Triathlon Cup Miyazaki at the end of October to add to a Kitzbühel Europe Triathlon Cup gold in June and a bronze in Holten in July. Following the Commonwealths, there was a fifth in Bergen, a fourth in Karlovy Vary and a ninth in Tongyeong.

Olivia Mathias in quotes

On finishing seventh in the women’s race at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham: “Although we’re in England, the amount of Welsh flags out there was insane. Every single second I could hear my name or ‘Go Wales!’. It was amazing. You can’t beat a British crowd.”

On the Welsh mixed relay squad being beaten into silver at the Commonwealth Games by the English squad featuring her partner Alex Yee: “We are usually in the same team with Great Britain, so to be on separate teams is different. It was so cool to be on that podium together though.

“To see that Welsh dragon going up the flagpole as I got my medal was one of the special moments of my life.”

What’s next for Olivia Mathias?

L-R: Silver medallists Alex Yee, Olivia Mathias, Kate Waugh and Ben Dijkstra on the 2019 world U23/junior mixed team relay champs podium in Lausanne. (Credit: Ben Lumley/ITU Media)

Although successful at both Commonwealth and European Cup level, Mathias has yet to really make her presence felt on the World Triathlon Championship Series stage.

The next few seasons may see her evolve into a podium regular on the circuit, as well as the pursuit of a place in the GB team for the Paris Olympics in 2024.

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Top image credit: Ben Lumley/World Triathlon