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Bermuda to have three triathletes at Olympic Games

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Tyler Smith will be competing in Paris this summer

Bermuda will have three triathletes competing at the Olympic Games this summer.

While Dame Flora Duffy’s name was already etched on the start list after she confirmed her return from injury in the past two World Triathlon events in Yokohama and Cagliari, Erica Hawley and Tyler Smith have been forced to sweat for weeks on and off the course as the deadline for qualification loomed.

Hawley has been fighting for a place in the elite women’s field and has been flirting with the cut-off line in the 55-strong field for the past few months, but her individual Olympic ranking has been good enough for her to receive an invite into the starting line-up in Paris.

Smith has been awarded one of two universality spots handed out by the Tripartite Commission, which is formed by representatives from the International Olympic Committee, Association of National Olympic Committees and Association of Summer Olympic International Federations, and has the aim of making places available in the qualification systems of select sports for nations with traditionally small delegations.

Erica Hawley will join Flora Duffy in the elite women’s field in Paris

Smith, who found out the news yesterday morning, is delighted to have reached the peak of the sport.

“By far, the Olympics is the pinnacle for triathlon,” Smith said.

“The thing about the Olympics is it transcends your individual sport. Every individual sport can have a world championships, but the Olympics is globally recognised across every sport.

“To get there and to be able to get on that start line and give myself a chance is everything I’ve ever wanted from the sport and I’m excited to give it my all.”

The 26-year-old is excited to be part of a three-strong squad heading to Paris and proud of how Bermuda has excelled in the world of triathlon.

“It’s pretty incredible when you think about the size of our country,” Smith said.

“For us to have three Bermudians at the Olympics is fantastic and it builds on the legacy that Tyler [Butterfield] and Flora have left us and continues the trend of sending Bermudian athletes to the Olympics.

“Triathlon was only introduced in the 2000 Games in Sydney and that’s the only Olympic Games that Bermuda has not had a triathlete. For a country of our size to be at six Olympics in a row is tremendous.”

Smith found out the news of his selection from his parents, who have been keeping a close eye on the race to qualify.

“I’ve been messaging my parents this morning and they were the ones that told me,” Smith said.

“I was training this morning and got a message from them telling me to check out the updated Olympic simulation.

“I’m sure they are super proud and they have put a ton of their energy into getting me to where I am today. They got me involved in this sport in the first place and have helped to support me at the professional level now, so I do owe them a huge deal of thanks. Hopefully, they will be in Paris to watch.”

It has been a tough Olympics qualifying campaign for Smith, who has had to chase ranking points around the world the past few months.

“It was a pretty tough qualification period,” Smith said.

“If you’re the only person competing for your country, you basically have to go and do all the work yourself, so you have to go to all the races and perform to get yourself in the world rankings.

“I didn’t have the ability to target a particular race or time, you just have to travel around the world and chase these points and as a one-man band it can be difficult at times. You have to figure out logistics and find out how to get around these countries that are completely different to the Western world, so that’s a big challenge and really half the battle is getting there and not picking up illness while you travel.

“Trying to fit in training with long-haul flights and fighting off jetlag definitely takes its toll and I think I found that at the end of this block but I didn’t have any other option if I wanted to get myself in the Olympic rankings.

“But now I’ll have two months of training in Boulder and I can go into the Games and execute it as an A race and really peak for it.”

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Published May 28, 2024 at 7:59 am (Updated May 28, 2024 at 8:06 am)

Bermuda to have three triathletes at Olympic Games

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