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From local events to the Olympic Games as a Technical Official

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Sarah Taylor was one of the Technical Officials out in Japan last summer helping to deliver the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. It’s a journey that started over 9,500 miles away from Tokyo and not just her travel to get to the Olympics, but also her pathway as a Technical Official which started at local events.

Taylor first got involved in swim, bike, run because she didn’t want to become a “triathlon widow”, with her partner already involved in the sport. The couple decided to begin their Technical Official qualifications not realising where it would end up taking them.

“I just assumed I would be assisting my other half at local events and that would be it,” Taylor reflected. “I had no idea where it would go, and I definitely had no idea that I would go to all the events I have done.

“It was only a few years after that we were involved in London 2012 which was an incredibly special event to be a part of and I’ve been fortunate to then go to Rio and Tokyo since as well as the Commonwealth Games and Grand Final.

“It does take commitment and it’s not easy, especially with self-funding, but there are opportunities there if you work hard and you’re a team player if you do decide you would like to take it further and maybe go onto officiate at international events.”

There are around 500 Technical Officials registered with British Triathlon and it’s sharing knowledge and supporting others with the swim, bike, run community that Taylor thinks is positive for development.

“We’re fortunate in the UK that there is a lot of support, development and CPD opportunities for technical officials,” Taylor added. “Personally, being a technical official has given me a lot of confidence to deal with different situations and different people, and learn from other people, learn about different cultures and meet new people.

“There are a lot of people to learn from and I think it’s important that knowledge and experience is shared because that’s how we can all develop and hopefully also encourage more people to join the sport as technical officials.”

Being Technical Delegate at the 2017 World Triathlon Series Grand Final in Rotterdam is among Taylor’s highlights to date having been a Technical Official at numerous international events, her latest being at Tokyo 2020.

“It was brilliant to be involved, the organising committee and the Japanese were absolutely fantastic,” Taylor said when reflecting on Tokyo 2020. “Any chance you get to be at a major event like an Olympics or Paralympics is incredible and I still do have to pinch myself when I think about where I am and where I’ve been.”

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