Tokyo 2021: Triathlete Hayden Wilde embracing year delay of Olympic Games

New Zealand's top-ranked triathlete thinks the one year delay of the Tokyo Olympics will help his campaign.

Hayden Wilde has taken the sport by storm since his debut just three years ago, and he's shown no signs of slowing down, after achieving a career-high world ranking of 11.

And after a breakthrough 2019,  his sights were set much higher for 2020, until the world was turned upside down by the COVID-19 pandemic, including the Olympics being delayed by a year. 

"Having that extra year gives me the chance to have that four-year cycle from Rio like other athletes," Wilde told Newshub.

Like all sports, the coronavirus outbreak has put the ITU Triathlon circuit on hold, but it's left Wilde at a crossroads after hitting peak form last season. 

"It would've been really good to see how I would have coped this year, after having a really good season, at the end of the year." Wilde told Newshub.

2019 saw Wilde claim six podium finishes, including a bronze medal at the Olympic trial event in Tokyo.

"For me, I just wanted to show myself and show others that it wasn't a fluke at the end of the year and I wanted to push on and be consistent throughout the whole year," he added.

With just two Olympic spots up for grabs, qualifying is no certainty, so the  Kiwi's used his time in lockdown to ensure he'll be in the best possible form when racing finally returns. 

"These six to eight months, if I can get a really good training block it will be cool to see what happens to my fitness and speed," Wilde said.

New Zealand hasn't won an Olympic triathlon gold medal since the Hamish Carter/Bevan Docherty one-two in Athens in 2004, but Wilde's doing all he can to try and change that in Tokyo.