By Karen Price | July 15, 2018, 12:51 p.m. (ET)
The teams from (L-R) Australia, France and the U.S. celebrate at the medal ceremony for the ITU Triathlon Mixed Relay World Championships on July 15, 2018 in Hamburg, Germany.

 

The U.S. won the bronze medal at the ITU Triathlon Mixed Relay World Championships in Hamburg, Germany, on Sunday, proving once again that the Americans are top contenders as the event moves closer to making its debut at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.

France won in 1 hour, 20 minutes, 6 seconds, followed by Australia in 1:20:49 and the U.S. in 1:20:51.

Triathlon’s mixed team relay consists of two men and two women per team. They each run their own triathlon — swimming 300 meters, running 1.5 kilometers and biking 7.5 kilometers — before handing off to the next teammate, alternating between men and women. Sunday’s U.S. team consisted of Kirsten Kasper, 2016 Olympians Ben Kanute and Katie Zaferes, and 2010 Youth Olympian Kevin McDowell.

Germany, Great Britain and France were the top three at the first handoff with Kasper eight seconds back in fifth place. Kanute came out of the water and onto the bike second in the second leg and the U.S. joined the leaders.

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The second women’s leg put Zaferes, who leads the women’s World Triathlon Series standings and earned bronze in the women’s elite race Saturday, against Saturday’s winner, Cassandre Beaugrand of France. Beaugrand came away first and led with Great Britain and the U.S. in second and third. Beaugrand built a 20-second lead over Great Britain’s Jodie Stimpson and Zaferes on the bike, but at the second transition it was Stimpson and Zaferes going 1-2 into the run.

After Beaugrand and Zaferes battled it out on the run, it came down to McDowell for Team USA. The battle between France and the U.S. continued, and while the French prevailed in the end it was Australia’s Jacob Birtwhistle who sprinted to take silver.

The U.S. won gold at the first ITU World Mixed Relay Series in June. Team USA was also the world champion in 2016 and silver medalist to Australia in 2017.

Karen Price is a reporter from Pittsburgh who has covered Olympic sports for various publications. She is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.