Olympic triathlon held up by false start with BOAT in way of athletes

Olympic triathlon held up by false start with BOAT in way of athletes

Olympic triathlon held up by shocking false start with a BOAT in the way of athletes ready to jump into the water when the gun went to start in Tokyo – with the BBC commentator branding the scene ‘insane’

  • The men’s triathlon got off to a chaotic start as a boat got in the way of athletes 
  • Many competitors were blocked by the boat, which was carrying camera crews 
  • Other athletes had already dived in to start the 1500km swim in Tokyo Bay 
  • Find out the latest Tokyo Olympic news including schedule, medal table and results right here

The men’s Olympic triathlon began in shambolic circumstances as a boat jerked across the water just as some athletes had dived in to start the race. 

Half the field dived in while the others 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 06.30 local start but as the starter sent them away for the opening 1,500 metre swim leg, around a third found their way blocked by a camera boat. 

The men’s triathlon began in chaotic circumstances after a boat caused a false start

Half the field dived in while the others were blocked off by a boat carrying camera crew

With those left on the pontoon stranded, a mini-flotilla of boats and jet skis flew into action to head off the group, with around half of them still ploughing on regardless despite the alert horn sounding repeatedly.

Eventually two jet skis combined to stop the leaders, who returned slowly to the start having undergone a more vigorous 200 metre warm up than they had expected.

The race got underway safely around 10 minutes later.


Television pundits, commentators and viewers were all left stunned at what they had witnessed.

‘I have never seen anything like that before at the start of a triathlon – let alone one at the Olympics. What a shambles,’ said BBC commentator Matt Chilton.

Team GB’s Alex Yee was among the athletes that had already dived in to the water 

GB triathlete Non Stanford, speaking from the BBC studio, added: ‘”I’ve never seen that – definitely not in the Olympics. Hopefully the guys who did jump in, it didn’t affect their race too much.”

Some viewers, meanwhile, claimed the boats were still too close to the athletes when the race re-started.

‘Those boats need to give the swimmers some space! After a ridiculously dangerous false start, I really hope no one gets hurt. What a shambles!’ wrote one viewer on Twitter.

‘Having caused a false start in the Triathlon, the boat carrying the camera crews has been much too close to the athletes throughout the swim,’ wrote another.

A third viewer added: ‘I know they want good shots but where is the race director to tell them to move back. I’m still in shock about that false start, how there wasn’t injuries. Need a review of this so badly.’

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