In the run up to the Olympic Games, each week we'll be presenting the athletes who will have the privilege of competing for Belgium in Paris between 26 July and 11 August 2024. We will present them discipline by discipline... Today, we are talking about those who combine swimming, cycling and running in a triathlon!

Despite the long history of its disciplines, the triathlon is a sport that has only recently appeared on the world sporting scene. It originated in the 1970s at the San Diego Track Club, as an alternative training method to conventional track and field training.

The triathlon has been on the Olympic programme since the Sydney Games in 2000.

The triathlon format, which has been adopted for both the men's and women's Olympic events, involves a 1,500m swim, a 40km bike ride and a 10km run. There are no qualifying rounds, just a single race at the end of which the best all-round athlete is crowned winner.

At the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, a mixed relay was added to the individual men's and women's events for the first time. The relay is competed in a shorter format, making the race lively and unpredictable, by teams of two men and two women.

Here are the four athletes who will represent Belgium in the mixed relay:

•             Jelle Geens: born on 26 March 1993 in Zolder (Limburg province), this professional triathlete was the Belgian short-distance champion in 2015 and stage winner at the short-distance triathlon world championships.

             Marten Van Riel: born on 15 December 1992 in Loenhout (Antwerp province), this professional triathlete placed 5th in the fourth round of the World Series in Leeds in 2018. The same year, he won two bronze medals at the European Triathlon Championships, first in the individual event, and then in the Belgian mixed triathlon relay. In March 2022, he won the Ironman 70.3 in Dubai, achieving the best world performance in the discipline. And last November, he won the half-Ironman in Brazil.

             Claire Michel: born on 13 October 1988 in Brussels, this professional triathlete achieved her best performances at European level in 2018, finishing 5th in the women's event and winning a bronze medal with the Belgian mixed relay team at the European Triathlon Championships.

             Jolien Vermeylen: born on 2 May 1994 in Leuven (Flemish Brabant province), this professional triathlete came 7th in the women's A final of the first Indoor Triathlon World Cup held in Liévin, northern France.

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