2020 Tokyo Olympics: Team USA Collapses, Embraces in Beautiful Moment After Silver Finish in Mixed Relay Triathlon

by Samantha Whidden

Team USA scored the silver medal during the first-ever mixed-relay triathlon at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Great Britain won the gold medal while France is taking home the bronze. 

After crossing the finish line, Morgan Pearson collapsed while hugging his teammates Katie Zaferes, Kevin McDowell, and Taylor Knibb. 

Morgan Pearson finished in 42nd place during the Men’s Triathlon at the 2020 Olympics. Prior to this year’s Olympics, he is a silver medalist at the 2021 Leeds World Triathlon Championship Series and a bronze medalist at the 2021 Yokohama World Triathlon Championship Series. 

Katie Zaferes also scored bronze in the Women’s Triathlon at the 2020 Olympics. She is also the 2019 World Champion and was the 2013 USA Triathlon Elite Rookie of the Year. Kevin McDowell finished 6th place during the 2020 Olympics Men’s Triathlon. He is also a seven-time World Triathlon Cup medalist (3 silvers, 4 bronzes). He was the 2017 USA Triathlon Elite National Champion. Taylor Knibb finished 16th place at the Women’s Triathlon. She is the gold medalist at the 2021 World Triathlon Championship Series Yokohama and a two-time ITU Junior World Champion. 

2020 Tokyo Olympics: Mixed Relay Triathlon Is a First at Games

The first-ever Olympics mixed relay triathlon had a total of 17 countries competing. According to USA Today, each country has a four-person team, which consists of two men and two women. Each teammate will compete in the triathlon that features a 300-meter swim, 6.8-kilometer bike ride, and 2-kilometer run. The competitor’s order is alternate between genders and the race kicks off with a woman.

While sharing details about the mixed relay triathlon at this year’s Olympics, McDowell states, “I don’t think there’s really words to describe the Mixed Relay. Triathlon is normally an individual sport, but there can be a lot of team aspects when you’re out training together with teammates.”

Knibb further explains that there is a lot of strategy involved while preparing and training for the new Olympics event. Zaferes then says, “it’s super awesome to compete in the Mixed Relay because it’s just so much having teammates and racing with your country.”

Zaferes also says that the team atmosphere has been amazing during the 2020 Olympics.

“It’s been really fun to be hanging out with everyone and taking this whole Olympic experience together,” she explains. The Olympian then notes that it’s the first Mixed Relay and to have that camaraderie among the teammates while they’re all together is really nice. 

“It’s fun and we’re all excited to something big here. We have a great opportunity, and we’re going to take full advantage of that,” she says.

Speaking about his Olympics teammates, Pearson adds, “We’re all really excited for Katie, who is third in the individual. And Kevin also had a great race. I think we’re all feeling pretty confident in each other.”