'Never seen that': Olympics triathlon rocked by 'horrendous' drama

·Sports Editor
·4-min read
Half the field, pictured here diving into the water as the other half were blocked by a TV boat.
Half the field dived into the water as the other half were blocked by a TV boat. Image: BBC

The Tokyo Olympics were rocked by extraordinary scenes on Monday when half the field false started in the men's triathlon.

The event suffered a rare and embarrassing false start when half the field dived into the water before the other half.

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The ones who were left on the pontoon were blocked off by a boat, leading to some frantic action from associated craft to get the message over to the initially unaware swimmers.

Fifty-six men lined up on a pontoon in Tokyo Bay for the 6.30am local start.

But as the starter sent them away for the opening 1500 metre swim leg, around a third found their way blocked by a camera boat.

With those left on the pontoon stranded, a mini-flotilla of boats and jet skis flew into action to head off the group in the water.

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Around half of the athletes still ploughed on regardless, despite the alert horn sounding repeatedly.

Eventually two jet skis combined to stop the leaders.

They then returned slowly to the start having undergone a more vigorous 200 metre warmup than they would have liked.

Half the field, pictured here false starting in the men's triathlon at the Olympics.
Half the field false started in the men's triathlon at the Olympics. (Photo by Sebastian Gollnow/picture alliance via Getty Images)

The race eventually got underway safely around 10 minutes later, but the shocking scenes left commentators and fans stunned.

Aussie Olympian Tamsyn Lewis Manou described the start as "insane", while one commentator for BBC said it as a "shambles".

"I've never seen anything like this," he said.

"There was a boat in the way."

A commentator for Channel 7 said: "That is madness."

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Kristian Blummenfelt wins men's triathlon

Norway's Kristian Blummenfelt overcame the chaotic start to claim gold, while Australia finished well out of the medals.

Blummenfelt led home Briton Alex Yee, with Kiwi Hayden Wilde taking the bronze medal.

The World No.2 Blummenfelt broke away from Yee and Wilde late in the 10km run leg and charged to the line, winning by 11 seconds.

The best-finishing Australian was Tasmania's Jake Birtwhistle, who was 16th in his first Olympics.

Queensland's Matt Hauser, also making his Olympic debut, was 24th while Aaron Royle, from NSW was two places back in 26th.

French world champion Vincent Luis finished 13th.

with agencies

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