The Olympic dream is over for Tyler Smith – The Royal Gazette
Created: Apr 19, 2021, 8:00 AM
Dream Shattered: Tyler Smith, pictured competing at the ITU World Cup in Arzachena, Italy last year, admitted his hopes of qualifying for the Tokyo Olympics were over
Tyler Smith was forced to concede that his faint hopes of fulfilling a dream of reaching the Olympics are over.
Failed to secure a full-fledged spot for Bermuda at the rescheduled Tokyo Games, which will run from July 23 to August 8, the 22-year-old was pinning his hopes on the possibility of winning one of the spots on invitation of the Tripartite Commission. to offer.
Invitation places offer the possibility to National Olympic Committees, which have traditionally sent small delegations to the Olympic Games. A total of 104 places are offered in 16 sports, including triathlon, to the 92 eligible NOCs including Bermuda.
To be taken into consideration for one of the two quota places per gender that will be allocated, the athletes of the eligible NOCs must be either among the first 140 places in the world ranking of individual Olympic triathlon qualifying, or among the first 180 in the ranking. world triathlon.
While the initial deadline for applications closed in January last year, due to the freeze on Olympic triathlon qualifiers since March 2020, discussions were in place to possibly extend the application process for tripartite invitation places. .
This gave Smith again hope for the possibility of being in the running to apply, with the realistic opportunity to improve on his current 188th ranking in the Olympic rankings, after enjoying promising form in Cup events. of the world at the end of last year.
Smith holds 249.71 points in the men’s Elite rankings after finishing 26th at the ITU Triathlon World Cup in Arzachena, Italy in October and 32nd at the ITU Triathlon World Cup in Valencia, Spain a month later.
The only realistic competition Smith and Bermuda would face to earn an invitation berth against other eligible NOCs would be from Syria with male pair Mohamad Maso and Mohamad Alsabbagh respectively 146th and 165th in the men’s elite triathlon world rankings.
However, the climax of the Bermuda Olympic Authority’s refusal to apply on Smith’s behalf and the freezing of Olympic qualification due to the triathlon World Championships not restarting until May at the earliest, put end to his hopes of competing on the biggest sporting stage in the world. this summer.
“Obviously I was disappointed, as any athlete would risk losing a possible chance to go to the Games, but they had their reasons for making the decision and I completely respect that,” said Smith.
“If anything, it gave me more motivation to prove myself. I train everyday with guys who compete in the Olympics and I know I can be at that level.
“I think my main hope of winning a place at the Olympic Games would have been to get one of the places available through invitations from the Tripartite Olympic Games Commission.
“If qualifying had been reopened, I would have had the opportunity to improve my current ranking. I would have had six or seven races to run more points and get back into the top 180 before the June deadline. It would have been difficult; but it could have been possible.
“With that in mind, there were discussions with World Triathlon to see what was happening with the Tripartite Commission invitation places and if there was a possibility of expanding the application process. They suggested that BOA write a letter asking to reconsider the application process, but BOA refused to explore these avenues.
“BOA is committed to continuing to support me so I have to take a lot out of it and focus on my development in the future.”
This motivation to prove himself will now focus on securing a place at the next Commonwealth Games, scheduled for Birmingham, England next year from July 28 to August 8, as well as continuing to progress in the World Triathlon Series and, finally, the next ones. Olympic Games, which will take place in Paris in 2024.
“The Commonwealth Games are my next big goal,” added Smith, who studies at Leeds University. “I hope to stay in the UK to prepare and train fully here.
“After that, I have to consider competing in the World Triathlon Series again and ultimately the next Olympic Games in Paris. At the time of the next Games, I want to make sure that I am able to fully qualify.
“I know it will be a long and difficult process, but I have confidence that I can maintain consistent levels and get the results I need on a regular basis; this is my ultimate goal to move forward.
While waiting to return to elite-level action, Smith had a successful outing competing in the Middlesbrough Endeavor Graded 5k race last week, finishing fifth overall in 14:48.
In doing so, Smith broke 24-year-old Kavin Smith’s national record of 14:57. However, the file has not yet been officially verified.
“I got into the race just to see what level I was at and it turned out to be really beneficial,” said Smith. “If this turns out to be a Bermudan record, then obviously I’m incredibly proud of it. Every athlete wants to be a part of history and have their name associated with a record. “