Tom Bishop: Background, career highlights, quotes

Tom Bishop has been racing triathlon on the world stage for a number of years now, but a big win remains elusive. Here, we look at the highs and lows of his career so far

Tom Bishop after racing in 2017

While rarely a headline-maker in his own right, Tom Bishop was a dependable fixture on the World Triathlon scene for many years.


Now, with his sights firmly set on middle distance, he’s made 2023 his make-or-break year.

Who is Tom Bishop?

While he might not have reached the heights of those around him, Tom Bishop – another product of the Leeds conveyor belt of impeccable triathlon talent – may yet have his moment in the spotlight as his short-distance contemporaries and compatriots run off into the sunset.

Others may have made the headlines, but Bishop has shown himself a dependable team-mate, willing to step into the breech when required, while also proving to be an extremely valuable member of Britain’s mixed relay squads, a format at which he’s had notable success in the past in both ETU and ITU events.

A non-competing reserve on the Team GB squad that travelled to Rio for the 2016 Olympics, Bishop has only stepped onto an individual World Triathlon Series (WTS) podium once, back in 2017 when he ran Javier Gómez close in Abu Dhabi. That was half a decade ago now.

After a disappointing 2019 season when he only reached the top 10 of a single WTS race, his post-pandemic results were a little underwhelming and his failure to make the team for the Tokyo Olympics was a personal disappointment.

Unsurprisingly, his focus shifted to the longer stuff for the 2022 season. With some solid results behind him, Bishop has let it be known that 2023 is his make-or-break year in the sport. Here’s his story so far…

How old is Tom Bishop?

Tom Bishop was born on 9 July 1991, making him 31 years old.

Tom Bishop’s career highlights

Tom Bishop takes to the bike leg in a race in 2017 (Credit: British Triathlon)

June 2008: A first slice of European glory

Aged just 16, Bishop travels to the Netherlands where he wins the ETU Junior European Cup in Holten.

September 2010: Bishop proves himself Hungary for success

At the WTS Grand Final in Budapest comes more success in the junior competition when Bishop takes silver. He was only two seconds away from the gold.

June 2012: Racing with the big boys

Still 20 years of age, this season Bishop has been bouncing between competing as an U23 and competing with the elite ranks. His arrival in the latter is confirmed by victory in the ITU Sprint European Cup in Cremona in northern Italy.

July 2012: Bishop goes Dutch again

While the big stars of British triathlon are staying in Blighty as they make their final preparations for the London Olympics, Bishop – still two days shy of his 21st birthday – returns to Holten where he pockets a silver in the ITU Premium European Cup.

May 2016: Bishop shows himself to be a true team player

Bishop experiences his first taste of success as a mixed relay racer, joining up with Lucy Hall, India Lee and Grant Sheldon to win gold at the ETU European Championships in Lisbon.

March 2017: World champions trail in Bishop’s wake

Tom Bishop goes toe-to-toe with Javier Gomez at the front of the field in Abu Dhabi (Credit: Janos Schmidt/World Triathlon)

Bishop enjoys the highest-profile performance of his career so far when he takes silver in the WTS race in Abu Dhabi. It’s a tremendous performance as the Derby-born athlete matches the great Javier Gómez stride for stride on the run until the Spaniard pulls away in the final couple of kilometres and takes the win 13 seconds clear.

But Bishop takes some notable scalps, including future world champ Vincent Luis and defending champ Mario Mola.

June 2018: Another mixed-relay medal, this time on home territory

More success as part of a collective comes in Bishop’s native East Midlands when the British mixed relay foursome earn silver at the ITU event in Nottingham.

Bishop isn’t overawed by the occasion, despite taking his place in the quartet alongside proven world-beaters Non Stanford, Vicky Holland and Jonny Brownlee.

June 2021: Goes all out for Olympic qualification

With two male slots already guaranteed, Bishop represents Team GB’s last chance at qualifying a third by rising up the rankings. In a bold attempt to claim it, he aims for five races in five weeks in five different countries.

But it wasn’t to be. Bishop didn’t quite reach the level he’d wanted to and a mix of jet lag and physical and mental fatigue took its toll. He finished 22nd in Yokohama, tactically withdrew from the Lisbon World Cup mid-race, took 40th in the Arzachena World Cup and 16th in Leeds.

It was a brave effort, but qualification remained out of reach, parking his short-distance dreams at the end of the year.

August 2022: Bronze in his first 70.3

At the inaugural Swansea half-Ironman, Bishop puts in a strong performance on his middle-distance debut to collect bronze behind Alistair Brownlee in first and Spain’s Antonio Benito Lopez.

October 2022: Another medal at the middle

Clocks a 3:54:23 to finish third at Challenge Paguera Mallorca. He rounds out the year with a fourth at Clash Daytona in December, where Vincent Luis reigned supreme.

March 2023: Wins silver and gold 

Bishop starts his 2023 season with a silver medal at Clash Miami on 10 March then takes the next step up at Challenge Puerto Varas just nine days later. His winning time of 3:45:01 in Chile beats Sam Long‘s course record, set at last year’s inaugural event.

Tom Bishop quotes

Tom Bishop competes in the mixed relay triathlon event in Nottingham in 2018 (Credit: Janos Schmidt/World Triathlon)

On the advent of mixed relay events: “The relay has been such a fantastic addition to our sport. Its addition into the Olympic Games opens up so many more opportunities for people and nations to compete on a world stage. As of yet, though, it’s not possible to be a full-time relay athlete and also pay the bills…”

On missing out on Tokyo: “Giving up on the Olympic dream was hard. Maybe a smarter racing strategy would have yielded better results, but nothing was certain. And when my confidence started to go, there was no chance of success.”

On motivation for those who seldom climb the podium: “The media prefers success stories. But I can guarantee you there is as much hard work and sacrifice going on further down the ranking as to those at the very top. The difference is that we don’t have the highs and jubilation to keep us going.”

What’s next for Tom Bishop?

Having finally made that switch to longer-distance racing, and with a win in the bag at the start of 2023, Bishop will be hoping that his will be the next name added to the long list of British superstars who have preceded him.


Top image credit: British Triathlon