Taylor Spivey in transition during last year's AJ Bell World Triathlon on June 09, 2019 in Leeds, England.
The 2020 triathlon season was over in the blink of an eye, but it was a memorable one for the U.S. mixed relay team as it brought home its first world championship medal since 2018.
The U.S. team of Kevin McDowell, Morgan Pearson, Taylor Spivey and Katie Zaferes finished second Sunday in Hamburg, Germany, with a time of 1:18:33, just nine seconds behind first-place France. Great Britain finished 35 seconds off the pace in third.
The 2020 World Triathlon Series was reduced to just the Hamburg event, originally scheduled for July, as a winner-take-all world championship. It’s the first mixed relay world championship medal for Team USA since 2018 and first silver medal since 2017. Zaferes, a 2016 Olympian, was a member of both teams, while McDowell was a member of the 2018 team.
Spivey and McDowell got the U.S. off to a solid start Sunday as it hovered just off podium position. Zaferes’ strong swim in the third leg helped Team USA close the gap as Norway was looking especially strong after the first two legs. Once Zaferes hit the bike, Team USA was battling it out with Great Britain and France for the podium and it was anybody’s race. Pearson was able to bring the silver medal home, running neck-and-neck with France.
Hamburg was a familiar home for the world championships, but the setting was much different as it was held outside the city and with no fans there for support. Mixed relay will make its Olympic debut next year at the postponed Olympic Games Tokyo 2021, with Team USA expected to compete for a medal. Zaferes, the top-ranked woman in the world, will be expected to compete for gold individually as well.