Joe Maloy, Greg Billington and Ben Kanute are the three men who will represent the United States in triathlon at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in August. Each earned his first Olympic appearance through a rigorous selection process that concluded Saturday at the ITU World Triathlon Series race in Yokohama, Japan.
Maloy, 30, has recorded a series of top-20 finishes bridging the end of last season to this year, including a best of sixth at the World Triathlon Series Gold Coast event last month. He then took 11th in Yokohama Saturday, which boosted his World Triathlon Series ranking to 16. He closed 2015 placing seventh at the Cozumel ITU World Cup, followed by an 11th-place effort at the Tongyeong, South Korea, event a week later. The second American across the line and 16th overall at the Rio de Janeiro ITU World Olympic Qualification Event, he was fourth at the 2015 national championships after winning the title in 2014. He also has a bronze medal to his credit, won at the 2014 Cozumel world cup.
A four-year member of the Boston College swim team, Maloy then became an assistant coach at the school for two more. He won 12 varsity letters (cross country, track, swimming, tennis) at Wildwood Catholic High School in Wildwood Crest, New Jersey.
A pair of top-10 finishes at the beginning of April indicates that Billington, 26, is rounding into form as Rio approaches. Currently 34th in the WTS rankings, he was the top American finisher at the Rio de Janeiro ITU World Olympic Qualification Event, placing 15th. The Spokane, Washington, native closed out 2015 by placing fifth at the Tongyeong world cup stop. A two-time U23 U.S. champion (2011, 2012), he logged his career-best world cup placement in 2013, when he was fourth at the Guatape, Colombia, event, and also won the Dallas ITU Triathlon Pan American Cup that year. He also was champion of the 2014 Hong Kong ASTC Triathlon Asian Cup.
The youngest of the three Olympic triathletes at 23, Kanute jumped up to 43rd in the current WTS rankings after placing 17th in Yokohama, 1:25 off the winning time. He won the CAMTRI sprint race in Clermont, Florida, earlier this season and finished 11th at the New Plymouth, New Zealand, world cup event in April. The reigning U.S. national champion, he had a career-best silver-medal finish at the 2014 world cup race in Tongyeong. A two-time junior elite national champion (2008, 2010), he was the first U.S. triathlete to the tape at the 2015 ITU Grand Final in Chicago, finishing 20th, and closed out the 2015 season as the top-ranked American in the ITU World Triathlon Series.
The three men join women’s team members Gwen Jorgensen and Sarah True, who qualified for the women’s team last year based on their placements at the Rio Olympic qualification event, where Jorgensen finished first and True took fourth. A third woman will be selected to the team in the coming days. By Craig Bohnert