6 Olympic triathlon contenders hoping to beat the British women

Ideally, Team GB will sweep up all three women’s medals on offer! In case that doesn’t happen, Tim Heming sizes up the rest of the ladies’ field…


Andrea Hewitt

Age 34


Lives Christchurch, New Zealand

There would be few more popular medallists than the 34-year-old from Christchurch, who has picked herself up after the tragic death of partner and triathlete Laurent Vidal and resumed a commendably long and consistent career. Hewitt was world U23 champion over a decade ago and has shown the fortitude to perform on the big stage with Grand Final success in Beijing in 2011. Barring a DNF in last year’s Test Event, she has not finished outside the top 10 in her past 27 appearances, but having not won an individual race of note for almost five years, top spot on the podium is likely to be out of reach.


6th, Leeds WTS

4th, Yokohama WTS

3rd, Gold Coast WTS


1st, Beijing WTS Grand Final, 2011

1st, Madrid WTS, 2009

2005 ITU World U23 Champion

Flora Duffy 

Age 28

Lives Paget Parish, Bermuda

 Duffy has been building her bike legs since she first started the sport aged seven. Rewarded with Xterra world titles in 2014 and 2015, she’s now enjoying the most prolific spell of her career. At 5ft 4in she punches well above her weight in keeping the race fast and honest, and will be a key ally of the British in the quest to break Jorgensen’s stronghold. It worked in the Gold Coast where she was chief protagonist alongside eventual victor Helen Jenkins on the bike. Duffy will need to use Rio’s short, sharp hill to try and break the field again, because her medal chance rests on whittling down the contenders heading into T2.


1st Stockholm WTS

2nd, Leeds WTS

3rd, Cape Town WTS

4th, Gold Coast WTS & Abu Dhabi WTS


2nd, Edmonton WTS, 2015

1st, Huatulco ITU World Cup, 2012

2nd, ITU World Junior Champs, 2006

Nicola Spirig

Age 34

Lives Winkel, Switzerland

Spirig is unconventional. The reigning champion races sparingly, booked her Olympic spot by winning the inaugural European Games in Baku, and has spent the previous Olympiad becoming a mother, racing distances up to Ironman and even running marathons. Her wily coach Brett Sutton has also kept her away from favourite Jorgensen, and if all goes to plan, the first the American will see of the Swiss is when she zips past with her acclaimed bike power. A setback came when Spirig crashed out in Abu Dhabi with a fractured left hand, but expect Sutton, who watched her take Olympic glory in 2012 in a bookmakers, to have a few tricks up his sleeve.


DNF, Abu Dhabi WTS


2015 European Games Champion

2012 Olympic Games Champion

2009 European Tri Champion

Ashleigh Gentle

Age 25

Lives Brisbane, Australia

Australia has never been off the women’s Olympic triathlon podium thanks to a wealth of talent from Sydney silver medallist Michellie Jones to Beijing champion Emma Snowsill. But it’s not the powerhouse it once was and although Olympic bronze medallists Emma Moffat and Erin Densham are on the team, both look to be fading forces. Probably the best hope then is Gentle, the 25-year-old from Brisbane who’s making her Games bow after enjoying an impressive season on the WTS circuit and has enough speed on the run to be considered an outside medal hope.


2nd, Yokohama WTS

15th, Gold Coast WTS

2nd, Abu Dhabi WTS


2nd, Yokohama WTS, 2015

1st, Edmonton ITU World Cup, 2011

2010 ITU World Junior Champion

Sarah True

Age 34

Lives Hanover, USA

After a strong 2015 where True made three podiums, including a win in Stockholm and booked her Olympic spot with fourth in the Test Event, this season has been a struggle. Like Spirig, True – whose husband Ben is looking to join her in Rio as a middle-distance track runner – was caught up in the bike pile-up in the opening WTS race in Abu Dhabi. She shouldn’t be underestimated though. Now 34, the display of guts she showed in the last Olympic Games, when she was dropped by the lead runners before clawing her way back and then just missing out on a medal in a sprint, shows her battling qualities.


15th, Leeds WTS

9th, Cape Town WTS

25th, Gold Coast WTS

DNF, Abu Dhabi WTS


1st, Stockholm WTS, 2015 & 2014

4th, Olympic Games, 2012

Gwen Jorgensen

Age 30

Lives Wisconsin, USA

There has never been a hotter favourite in Olympic triathlon than Jorgensen, but after a record-winning streak of 13 top tier races, Jorgensen will also be attacked on the bike at every opportunity. However, unlike four years ago, when as a relative newcomer she crashed on the wet roads of London, this time there is no weakness, thanks to the efforts of coach Jamie Turner and husband and former pro cyclist Patrick Lemieux. The USA’s only Olympic triathlon medal is a solitary bronze from Susan Williams in 2004, and if anyone can stop Jorgensen from climbing two steps higher they will be a worthy champion.


1st, Leeds WTS & Yokohama WTS

2nd, Gold Coast WTS

1st, New Plymouth ITU World Cup


2 x ITU World Champion

17 World Triathlon Series wins



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