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Top triathlon stories to watch in Rio

Alistair Brownlee
USA TODAY Sports

Top triathlon stories to watch in Rio

Will a U.S. triathlete win an Olympic medal for the first time in 12 years?

Who can beat Gwen Jorgensen?

Gwen Jorgensen looked unstoppable in 2014 and 2015, winning 12 consecutive World Triathlon Series races and back-to-back world championship titles.

This year Great Britain’s Helen Jenkins and fellow American Katie Zaferes have defeated her in races. Other triathletes who will challenge Jorgensen in Rio include fellow American Sarah True, Great Britain’s Non Stanford and Vicky Holland, New Zealand’s Andrea Hewitt and Bermuda’s Flora Duffy.

Will a U.S. athlete win an Olympic medal for the first time since 2004?

No U.S. triathlete has won an Olympic medal since Susan Williams won the country’s first in 2004. She is eager to watch the U.S. women in Rio. 

"It's not a sure bet," Williams said, "but between Gwen [Jorgensen] and Sarah [True], I think the probability is quite high that we will get one or two medals."

Catching up with: Susan Williams

Susan Williams is the only U.S. triathlete with an Olympic medal. That could change in Rio.

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Will Alistair Brownlee defend his Olympic gold medal?

The men’s triathlon outlook changed drastically when five-time world champion Javier Gomez Noya announced on July 14 that he would miss the Olympics after breaking his arm.

Fellow Spaniard Mario Mola has emerged in 2016, winning four of his five WTS races this year. 

Great Britain’s Alistair Brownlee, the 2012 Olympic champion, won his two most recent WTS races. He is looking faster this year after undergoing left ankle surgery in 2015.

Brownlee’s younger brother, Jonathan, has finished on the podium in all four of his WTS races this year.

Water quality

In July 2015, the Associated Press published an investigation into the water quality at Rio Olympics water venues. In the article, Kristina Mena, a U.S. expert in risk assessment for waterborne virus, estimated that athletes would have a "99 percent chance of infection if they ingested just three teaspoons of water."  

Days later, the world's best triathletes competed in an Olympic test event on the Rio 2016 course. Jorgensen, who won the race to qualify for her second Olympics, told NBC OlympicTalk at the time, "we swim in waters all around the world, and this was no different from anywhere else." True told The Associated Press, "ultimately the Olympic dream is so strong that sometimes we put the pursuit of excellence above our health."

Holiday in Rio

To alleviate traffic, Rio Mayor Eduardo Paes announced that Aug. 18, the day of the men’s triathlon, would be a holiday in the city. Expect to see a lot of fans lining the streets to watch the triathletes race. 

Day of Olympic men's triathlon declared a holiday in Rio

The day of the Olympic men's triathlon will be a holiday in Rio de Janeiro to keep people off the roads

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