Feisty Olympic Picks

flora duffy olympics tokyo 2020 Jul 24, 2021

The women's triathlon at the Tokyo Olympics kicks off on Tuesday July 27 at 6:30am local Tokyo time, which for our North American Feisty friends will be in the afternoon or early evening on Monday July 26. Get ready for an electric race that has been a long time coming.


 Text by Ellen Pennock


Ready or not, the Olympics are here. The stage is set for a hot and humid triathlon event as the best triathletes in the world compete for gold at the Odiaba Olympic Park in Tokyo. Before I make the Feisty Olympic picks, I’ll fill you in on why these Olympics are shaping up to be one of the most controversial yet but why we can still love them.  


Is it me? I am the drama?


Yes Olympics, you are the drama. The extra year has created an even more dramatic runway than normal, as many of the issues with the Olympic Games lingered in the limelight. 


While the ethics of hosting a Games amid a global pandemic is in question, the Olympics as a whole are under intense scrutiny. Some say that the Olympics have become too big and too commercialized. The sustainability of such a major event - when it comes to the environment, social and economic impacts- cannot be ignored. And it’s becoming increasingly more evident that for some athletes, reaching the pinnacle of sport means sacrificing their mental health and well-being. 


Yes, we can still love the Olympics


Love it or hate it, the Olympics have begun. While these Olympics are looking a little different than normal- including no spectators, socially distant medal ceremonies and empty stadiums- the competitions themselves will be as fierce as always. There are medals on the line, life-long dreams to be fulfilled and records to be broken. 


As someone who dreamed of going to the Olympics as an 8-year-old and never got to fulfill that dream, I can tell you this: we can still love the Olympics. Although my cynicism of the Games has increased over the years, there is a place in my heart that still loves the stories. I love watching competition narratives unfold, played out by real human beings, each with their own story. 


Now, for the Feisty Picks


I get it: you might not be a loyal fan to draft-legal racing. For those of you who last paid attention to draft-legal racing in 2016, here is a run down on the Women’s Triathlon so that you can sound like you know what you’re talking about.




Women's Triathlon: Tuesday July 27 6:30am local time in Tokyo (Monday July 26 2:30pm Pacific Time)


What makes Tokyo different:


Tokyo is going to be hot and humid, which is why the race is set to go off at 6:30am local time. Many of the athletes would have done heat training to get their bodies used to racing in the heat. The Norwegian team has white suits to keep athletes cool. A risqué fashion choice that could pay off in functionality.


The swim:


The water temperature is going to be hot. Like 27C (~80F) warm. The warm water could slow down the swim and make a breakaway less likely. Watch for Jessica Learmonth to be pushing the pace at the front.

The bike:


For anyone who has played Mario Cart: the Olympic bike course is pretty much rainbow road. In other words, it’s going to be technical. It could favour a small breakaway staying away from the main pack if a breakaway happens. Keep an eye on Flora Duffy and Nicola Spirig to be two game changers in the bike leg.


The run:


It’s going to be hot, hot, hot. That’s it. That’s the run. Watch for Summer Rappaport, Georgia Taylor-Brown and Cassandre Beaugrand to run fast.


Feisty Picks:


I’m going to go with a small breakaway off the front with maybe 5 women. That being said, a chase pack is going to be very motivated to chase at the Olympics. I’m predicting that the breakaway will stay away but not have a huge gap going into the run.


Gold- Flora Duffy


This is a bit biased because I’m a huge Flora Duffy fan. Honestly though, she’s got it all. If she makes a breakaway and the breakaway stays away, I’m almost certain the Bermudian will win.


Silver- Summer Rappaport


Summer’s secret weapon is her run- watch for her to have the fastest run split on the day. Although I don’t think she will be in the breakaway, I think it’s very possible for her to run herself into a silver medal.


Bronze- Jessica Learmonth


I’m predicting Jessica Learmonth to also be in the breakaway. After a solid silver medal performance in the last big triathlon event prior to the Games, she has demonstrated her form. 


Dark horses:


Georgia Taylor-Brown and Katie Zaferes


Both are world champions who have had exceptionally tough years and who are both capable of winning on any given day. 

Here we go


So there you have it. For me in Victoria BC, the race kicks off on Monday at 2:30pm PT. And yes, you will find me *working* from the couch. I hope you too can watch live.  



Ellen does a bunch of things behind-the-scenes for Feisty Media, including occasionally writing, making cameos in TikToks and sometimes signs her emails Creative Director. She grew up racing triathlon for Canada in Victoria, BC.



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