Holland triathlon star celebrates the strength of British competitors

Vicky Holland hailed the dizzying strength of women’s triathlon in Britain ahead of a historic summer for the sport, writes Tom Harle.

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

This generation has helped make Britain the number one nation in the world, to the point where six British women have made it into the top 20 of the triathlon world championship standings.

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

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

“The strength in depth now is ridiculous, it’s unreal. I’m really proud of that because the team was built on the strong women at the top who started with Helen.

“There is a feeling of excellence in the women’s team and also of inclusiveness for those who come on. People want to be part of the team, they yearn to come in and when they do, they see that we are friendly , we have a good time and encourage each other too.

“I’m really proud that if I walk away from the sport it could be my greatest legacy – even if 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.

Tokyo’s delay to the year proved problematic for the Gloucester native – as did the Games themselves, when they arrived.

“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 warned of all the restrictions that were going to be in place, but it was a difficult situation to manage and my preparation for the Games had been relatively difficult.

“Before the world closed, everything was going very well for me!

“Tokyo itself didn’t deliver the results I dreamed of and I was the only athlete on our team who wasn’t going to take part in the relay.

“I was really really, really thrilled for the girls, they’re some of my closest friends. They came to my wedding and my bachelorette party.

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

Holland also features as an elite athlete representative on the British Triathlon Board, a central role acting on behalf of Britain’s elite athletes.

The Gloucestershire ace took over at the end of the Tokyo Olympics and is the crucial link between the British Triathlon Board and the UK Sport Lottery Funded World Class programme, working with key external stakeholders and speaking out on forums national and international.

Holland also holds a position with the British Triathlon Athlete Commission – extending his role as the spokesperson for all British triathlon athletes – and on his appointment to the British Triathlon Board, said: “After a long career in triathlon , I felt that 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 in this role.”

Swimming, cycling and running in Britain will have an unforgettable 2022 with AJ Bell 2022 World Triathlon Championship Series Leeds on June 11-12, triathlon and paratriathlon at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games on July 29-31 and the World Triathlon Para Series Swansea on August 6: https://www.britishtriathlon.org/events/major-events

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