The U.S. mixed relay triathlon team carried on its winning ways at the inaugural Accenture ITU World Mixed Relay Series event on Thursday in Nottingham, England, coming from behind to claim the gold medal ahead of Great Britain and France.
The No. 2-ranked U.S. team consisted of Kirsten Kasper, Eli Hemming, 2016 Olympian Katie Zaferes and Matthew McElroy.
Zaferes and Kasper are ranked second and third in the women’s World Triathlon Series standings.
They were in second at the end of the first leg and third at the end of the second. It was in the third leg, however, that Zaferes pulled into the lead ahead of Australia and Great Britain. McElroy, who’s earned two world cup silver medals so far this year, took off into the water to close things out. He was holding on to a 24-second lead over two-time Olympic medalist Jonny Brownlee of England with just one bike lap left, and heading into the final run of the competition he’d increased that lead to 34 seconds.
The U.S. was among 19 teams competing in the new series designed to showcase the world’s elite triathlon talent and the format ahead of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, where triathlon mixed team relay will make its debut.
The format has each athlete completing his or her own triathlon before the next team member goes, alternating male and female, and Thursday’s race consisted of a 300-meter swim, 7 kilometers on the bike and a 1.5 km run. The Accenture World Triathlon Mixed Relay Nottingham is one of two qualification events in 2018 in which teams can earn points toward their ranking.
The U.S. was second to Australia at the 2017 ITU Mixed Relay World Championships in Hamburg, Germany, and won the world title in 2016.