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Katie Zaferes And Matt McElroy Take Silver At ITU World Triathlon Leeds

By Paul D. Bowker | June 09, 2019, 11:18 a.m. (ET)

Katie Zaferes (left) stands on the podium after placing second at the World Triathlon Series stop on June 9, 2019 in Leeds, England.


Georgia Taylor-Brown of Great Britain ended Katie Zaferes’ win streak on her home turf Sunday.

But Zaferes didn’t let her unbeaten streak go easily.

Chasing down Taylor-Brown in the 10-kilometer run in the final stage of the World Triathlon Series race in Leeds, England, Zaferes finished just 11 seconds back and earned her fourth consecutive medal of the season on her 30th birthday.

Taylor-Brown won the event with a time of 1:55:46, while Zaferes clocked in at 1:55:57. Jessica Learmonth rounded out the podium in 1:57:22.

Zaferes, a 2016 Olympian who is ranked No. 1 in the world and is first in the women’s points standings in the World Triathlon Series, had begun her season with wins in Abu Dhabi, Bermuda and Japan. She still leads the points standings after Sunday’s runner-up finish.

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The second-place finish marked the fifth consecutive podium finish for Zaferes dating back to last year. The only times she has not reached the podium in the last two seasons were a sixth-place finish in Edmonton last year and a DNF last year in Abu Dhabi due to an accident in the bike portion in which she suffered a concussion.

Taylor Spivey finished just off the podium in fourth place, while Tamara Gorman was 10th. Great Britain athletes had three of the top five finishers, a British invasion that only Zaferes and Spivey were able to interrupt.

Zaferes was fourth after the swimming leg and charged into the lead early in the bike portion. Taylor-Brown edged ahead on the first lap of the run and held off Zaferes the rest of the way for the win.

Olympic hopeful Matt McElroy scored the first World Triathlon Series podium finish for the U.S. men since 2009, finishing a career-best second for the silver medal. He charged from 21st place at the start of the run and finished in 1:45:19, just seven seconds behind winner Jacob Birtwhistle of Australia.

"It feels amazing, honestly," McElroy said. "The best achievement I’ve ever had in my life and in my sport career. I’m excited for the future.” 

The podium finish was McElroy’s best individual performance in the World Triathlon Series and his first silver medal in an individual race since a 2017 ITU world cup. His previous top finish this year was fifth in a world cup stop in Mooloolaba, Australia, and his previous best WTS finish was 11th in Hamburg, Germany last year.

The last U.S. man to win a World Triathlon Series medal was Jarrod Shoemaker, a 2008 Olympian who won a 2009 race in Hamburg.

The next World Triathlon Series race is June 29 in Montreal. A mixed relay race takes place next Saturday in Nottingham, England.

Paul D. Bowker has been writing about Olympic sports since 1996, when he was an assistant bureau chief in Atlanta. He is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.

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Katie Zaferes