Triathlon star Holland celebrates strength of British competitors

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Triathlon star Holland celebrates strength of British competitors
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Vicky Holland hailed the dizzying strength of women’s triathlon in Britain ahead of a landmark summer for the sport, writes Tom Harle.

The trailblazing three-time Olympian from Gloucester has been a driving force behind the women’s side of the sport for a decade, alongside the likes of Helen Jenkins and Non Stanford.

That generation helped install Britain as the foremost nation in the world to the point where six British women came in the top 20 of the World Triathlon Championship Series rankings.

Holland finished tenth in November’s season-ending race in Abu Dhabi - and was the sixth best Brit - an unheralded story of British sporting dominance.

“It was Alistair [Brownlee] who started all this but now it’s the women who are really leading the way,” said the 36-year-old.

“The strength in depth now is ludicrous, it’s unreal. I feel really proud about it because the team has been built on the strong women at the top that started with Helen.

“There’s a feeling of excellence in the women’s team and also inclusivity to those coming in. People want to be in the team, they aspire to come in and when they do they see that we’re friendly, we have a good time and encourage each other too.

“I’m really proud that if I do step away from the sport that might be my greatest legacy - although it’s not mine alone. It’s something really special.”

Holland made her Olympic debut at London 2012 and became the first British woman to win an Olympic triathlon medal with bronze at Rio 2016.

The year’s delay of Tokyo proved problematic for the Gloucester native - as did the Games themselves, when they did arrive.

“Tokyo wasn't a particularly fun experience if I'm being brutally honest,” said Holland, who finished 13th in the women’s race.

“We were forewarned of all the restrictions that were going to be in place but it was a difficult situation to manage and my build-up to the Games had been a relatively tough one.

“Before the world shut down everything was going brilliantly for me!

“Tokyo itself didn't yield the results that I dreamt of and I was the only athlete part of our team that wasn't going to be involved in the relay.

“I was genuinely really, really delighted for the girls, they are some of my closest friends. They came to my wedding and my hen do.

“To see people you genuinely care about achieve their dreams is phenomenal, but to also reconcile that with feeling devastated for yourself is a strange feeling.”

Holland also features as an Elite Athlete Representative on the British Triathlon Board, a pivotal role acting on behalf of Britain’s elite athletes.

The Gloucestershire ace took up the role at the end of the Tokyo Olympics and forms the crucial link between the British Triathlon Board and the UK Sport Lottery Funded World Class programme, working with key external stakeholders and taking on positions on national and international forums.

Holland also takes up a position on the British Triathlon Athlete Commission - extending her role as a voice for all British Triathlon athletes – and upon her appointment to the British Triathlon Board, said: “After a long career in triathlon, l felt I wanted to take on this responsibility.

“I believe my wealth of experience in the sport and my passion for triathlon means I have a lot to offer the role.”

Swim, bike, run in Britain will have a 2022 to remember with AJ Bell 2022 World Triathlon Championship Series Leeds on 11-12 June, triathlon and paratriathlon at Birmingham Commonwealth Games on 29 and 31 July, and World Triathlon Para Series Swansea on 6 August: https://www.britishtriathlon.org/events/major-events

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