Holding a world championship in an Olympic year always seems a little redundant. And we really don’t know if we can peg someone a favorite for being in peak form in the Big Show a couple of months before the Really Big Show.
Triathlon just keeps going and going, with athletes picking up ranking points. They tell us not only who has the most points but who only needed a couple of races to get them. The federation is also kind enough to give us updated start lists.
Check the previous picks for both sports. And away we go …
Men: We’re going to adjust the transliteration of the 2008 gold medalist to what they’re listing at pentathlon.org. Call him Andrei Moiseev. Also call him the 2011 world champion, the 2012 runner-up and the No. 2-ranked athlete. He’s second behind fellow Russian Aleksander Lesun. Two more Russians are in the top five, but only two can go to the Games. Hungary’s Adam Marosi is the only non-Russian in the top five, with South Korea’s Woojin Hwang not too far behind. Each of those two had a podium finish in the past two Worlds. Britain has a couple of guys with outside chances, while the USA is sending Dennis Bowsher. Was RUS-LTU-HUN; now Russia, Russia, Hungary
Women: The hosts have every reason to be optimistic here. Mhairi Spence won the 2012 world title, with Samantha Murray third. Spence is ranked second, Murray seventh. The leader is Lithuania’s Laura Asadauskaite despite her 21st-place finish at Worlds. Gold medalist Lena Schoneborn of Germany was fifth in each of the last two Worlds and is ranked fourth. Other contenders: China’s Qian Chen (second at Worlds), France’s Amelie Caze (fourth at Worlds), Brazil’s Yane Marques (second in rankings). The USA’s Marguax Isaksen hasn’t been able to compete much in 2012 but was 11th in 2011. Suzanne Stettinius also has qualified. Was GER-GBR-FRA; now Britain, Germany, Lithuania
Men: Spain’s Javier Gomez leads the rankings and has only competed in six races in the last ranking period. But one of those results wasn’t good at all, and his lead was built on older races. The next two in the rankings, Russia’s Alexander Bryukhanov and Switzerland’s Sven Riederer, keep finishing second to Britain’s Brownlee brothers. Alistair won the big World Championships Series races in London and Beijing last year; Jonathan won in San Diego and Madrid this year. Defending champion Jan Frodeno (Germany) and two-time medalist Bevan Docherty (New Zealand) also are in the mix. American veteran Hunter Kemper, who has missed a lot of time in the last couple of years, needed and got a big result in San Diego. His fifth-place finish nailed down his fourth Olympic berth. The other American is Manuel Huerta, who finished ninth in San Diego. Was ESP-SUI-GER; now Britain, Russia, Britain
Women: The breakaway top two here are New Zealand’s Andrea Hewitt and Britain’s Helen Jenkins. The host country’s hopeful won in London and beat Hewitt most of the times they went head-to-head, with an exception at the big final last year in Beijing. Australia’s Emma Moffatt, the bronze medalist in Beijing, is third after a win and a few more good results last year, and all three Aussies are strong. Switzerland’s Nicola Spirig moved into fourth with a win in San Diego, moving ahead of the USA’s Laura Bennett. Then there’s Canada’s Paula Findlay, ranked sixth on the strength of back-to-back World Championship Series wins last year but struggling to come back from a torn muscle in her hip. American Sarah Groff is 12th. Gwen Jorgensen, a newcomer to the sport, broke out in a big way with a second-place finish behind Jenkins in London. Was CAN-AUS-GBR; now Britain, Australia, New Zealand