Nine years ago (it should be 8 years), a new generation of names took the podium during the 2012 London Olympics. Great Britain's Brownlee brothers, Alistair and Jonathan and Spaniard Javier Gomez. Two of them retain the podium at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
During the 2016 Rio Olympics, everybody knew they would be medalists. The only question was who would win the gold medal among them.
New triathletes and unfamiliar names have emerged during the past five years. New athletes claimed titles at World Triathlon Series. Among them will surge the new generation of Olympic medalists. Though Javier Gomez and Jonathan Brownlee are in contention, they haven't repeated the numerous WTS series victories recently as they did before the 2012 and 2016 Olympics. Still, the two greats can't be ruled out at all for a medal; their experience could be a factor.
In my opinion, they can play an important role as team support for their country partners, as they received help in past Olympics. Jonathan, by his brother Alistair and Stuart Hayes, Hayes pushed hard in the bike portion helping the brothers.
Jonathan will be strong support for Alex Yee at the bike portion, trying to connect him with the lead pack. Alex has an excellent reputation as one of the fastest runners in triathlon, regularly clocking a sub-14-minute 5K! Having Jonathan help him through the run course could set Alex up for a gold-medal run.
Javier Gomez will attract the attention -and admiration- of rivals helping his teammates through the bike leg and running with Fernando Alarza and Mario Mola. Fernando and Mario have enough experience to close the last portion of the race and fight for a place on the podium if they work with Javier on the bike.
France's Vincent Luis and Norwegian standout Kristian Blummenfelt are my picks to stand on the podium with one of the Spaniards. They have the experience and consistency to race in fast, hot, and humid conditions.
Kristian has the advantage of leading a strong Norwegian national team. He's the current "golden triathlete" of Norway, having recently won world series races and cups.
Vincent Luis has emerged as the leader of the French triathlon team. He won the 2019 ITU World Championship, and in May 2021 he won the Yokohama race, showing that he is focused on the Olympics race.
On July 26th, we will know and celebrate new names and a new generation of Olympic triathlon medalists as the senior members of the sport pass the baton to a new generation.
GO TEAM USA!