Wilde Wins Bronze In The Men’s Individual Triathlon And The First Kiwi Medal At Tokyo 2020
Hayden Wilde from Whakatane shone at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games today winning a Bronze medal in the Men’s Individual Race and securing New Zealand’s first medal of the Games. Tayler Reid from Gisborne also had the race of his life so far, coming 18th in an all-star line-up at Odaiba Marine Park, Tokyo.
“It’s a dream come true!” said a thrilled Wilde. “I had a good start and good first buoy turn and then from there got into a bit of congestion. I came out of the water a minute behind and for me that’s pretty standard. For me my expectations were to be a bit more in front on the swim. I’ve been working hard on that discipline to get better. It is what it is and I kept composed. Plus I had some great athletes around me. We caught up about half way on the bike and from then on, I had to be tactical and be aware of what was going on with my watts and get my fluid in for the run. On the run I needed to be really composed and not do what I did in 2019 and do all the work. Just be a bit more tactical. I put the poker chips on the table and did a bit of an attack 1500m to go but it wasn’t enough to shake those boys off.
“It’s pretty dame awesome being a Bronze Medalist. I have had a lot of inspiration with Liz van Welie who has been to the Commonwealth Games and the Olympics, and Craig Kirkwood my coach, who has been to the Commonwealth Games and unfortunately had an injury so couldn’t go to the Olympics. He has been my big rock for sure. And I have big yarns with Hamish Carter who is a World Champion and gold medalist. And having a chat with Bevan Doherty before the race and Moss Burmester, so all the big guys. It was so awesome to get some words from them. To bring a medal back for New Zealand and to be the first one is an amazing feeling!”
Wilde who came out of the swim and onto the bike leg in the third group back from the leaders, worked his way back into contention and looked strong and composed on the run. He held on at the front and made his move in the final few hundred metres to take third and a place in the history books as the first Olympic medal for New Zealand in Tokyo 2020.
Tayler Reid came out of the water in 5th and in the lead pack for the first half of the bike leg through the streets of Tokyo, regularly leading the group and showing amazing performance. “I had a great race and a great start of the swim with clear water but it was quite hectic. We had a mishap on the first start. They called the start but there was literally a boat straight in front of me. And I was like, am I meant to dive in now? So half the people went and half didn’t so I ended up doing a little bomb!” laughed Reid. “That was good because it made me less nervous and was laughing a lot but it was kinda ridiculous. But on the swim finally I had a good one and was out of the water around fifth. On the bike I was in a small breakaway with the guys, staying at the front but trying to not do too much. Just lapping through to hold my position. Then we were caught and it was the same thing but trying to stay more at the front. As with a group that big, it is hard to get through to the front and you come to a U-turn and you nearly stop. And the guy at the front is still going 40km and you are at zero.
“I was second onto the run and got settled in on the run and had my eyes set on top ten at the start of the day. Unfortunately, that slipped away. I paced the run as perfectly as I could. I didn’t fade, I just was dying on the last half a lap which was ok.
“I am just really happy. Firstly, that Hado was on the podium and so proud of seeing him there. I got super emotional. Seeing him in tears made me cry. And I don’t cry. That really got me and I am just so super proud of him and happy that Tri has the first medal at the Games. I train with him so I feel I played a tiny role in that so stoked for him. And as for my race, so stoked as there were a lot of great names behind me. I was really happy with 18th.”
The Women’s Individual Race is on tomorrow, Tuesday 27th July at 9:30am NZ time, with Nicole van der Kaay is from Taupo and Ainsley Thorpe from Cambridge competing for the first time at an Olympics.
All four New Zealand athletes will then line up on Saturday 31st July at 10:30 am (NZ time) for the Mixed Team Relay for the first time at an Olympic Games. This exciting new format for the world of triathlon is a thrilling four-person female and male relay race over a super sprint distance of 300m swim, 8km bike and a 2km run. The race usually lasts less than 90 minutes making for exciting viewing, with each triathlete's effort generally lasting around 20 minutes.
Watch the racing:
Women’s Individual Triathlon race – 27th July – Race start 9:30 NZ time
Mixed Team Relay Triathlon race – 31st July – Race start 10:30 NZ time