Whakatane triathlete Hayden Wilde broke  New Zealand’s duck on the Tokyo Olympic medal table with an outstanding bronze medal performance this morning.

The world No 10 broke away with Norway’s Kristian Blommenfelt and Briton Alex Yee late on the 10km run. They made it clear they would take the medals, and just needed to sort out the order.

Wilde finished third in 1h 45min 24s, 20s behind Blommenfelt. He joins 2004 Athens medallists Hamish Carter (gold) and Bevan Docherty (silver) as New Zealand medallists in the gruelling three-discipline sport. Docherty also bagged a bronze in Beijing four years later.

An exhausted but exhilarated Wilde broke down in tears after the race. "Far out. It's a dream come true," he said as he embraced fellow New Zealand competitor Taylor Reid, who finished a creditable 18th. 

Wilde bided his time after settling in mid-field, but his run was always fancied to be his strong suit and he worked his way through the field to give himself a royal chance of a gold.

However, Blummenfelt’s withering late surge got him home first.

Reid was in the leading bunch of nine through the second leg on the bikes, but could not keep up with the leading runners, finishing 1min 50s behind the winner. 

Later Wilde reflected on his performance and said he was very pleased with his start in the swim. "I got around the first buoy well and from there settled into a rhythm, But I was out of the water about a minute behind the leaders, which is pretty normal for me.

"I'd been hoping for better because I've put in a lot of work in my swimming."

Wilde said that about halfway through the bike leg, the leaders were caught and basically it was a large bunch that worked its way to the end of the leg.

"I was pleased with my ride. I stayed really composed and let them do all the work. I tried to be a bit more tactical than I have been in the past."

He said he felt good throughout the run. "With about 1500m to go, I put my chips on the table and tried to go, but I couldn't do enough to shake those boys off."

Wilde took the time to thank his coaches and advisors, Reid - "an awesome team-mate" - and former Olympians like Carter, Docherty and swimmer Moss Burmester, who all gave him sound advice in the lead-up to his competition.


Tokyo 2020 Olympic Summer Games Hayden Wilde
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