Tokyo Olympics: Hayden Wilde says bronze medal in triathlon 'pretty unreal'

There was a sigh of relief from New Zealand Olympic fans today as 23-year-old Hayden Wilde got us onto the medal board with a bronze in the men's triathlon.

For non-sport types, that's a 1500 metre swim, a 40km bike ride and a 10km run to the finish line.

Wilde's already ranked number 10 in the World Triathlon Rankings and he's also won the two-day Coast to Coast. Despite this, he wasn't picked as a medal contender.

Wilde spoke to The Project about how it feels to be New Zealand's first medal winner of the Tokyo Games.

"It's pretty unreal," he says of his third-place finish today.

"I definitely didn't think that I'd pull it off waking up this morning. It was pretty hard to get to sleep last night."

He put his success down to the preparation he put in beforehand.

"I came into it feeling real good. I knew if I just kept composed and kept the poker face on hopefully people would start falling off the group, and I got about halfway on the second lap of the race and there was still eight or nine guys in contention so you just had to keep going and put your head down… it was pretty exciting getting onto that last lap for sure."

As well as his podium finish, Wilde also made headlines for his sportsmanship, coming to the aid of the Norwegen gold medalist Kristian Blummenfelt, who had trouble standing after the race.

Wilde says he didn't think twice about helping a fellow athlete.

"Being on the world circuit for triathlon we race each other literally most weeks, so we get to know each other really well," he says.

"It didn't matter if it was a Norwegen or the guy that won the race, if it was anyone around me I'd definitely put my hand out and help for sure - I think that's just the Kiwi way."