Marathon Cut For Paris 2024 Olympics Sealed With Seine Slots For 22 Men & 22 Women

2024-02-06 No comments Reading Time: 4 minutes
Florian Wellbrock and Leonie Beck, Germany's World 10km champions in 2023 and the first man and woman to claim a ticket to the Paris 2024 Olympic marathon competitions - photo courtesy of World Aquatics
Florian Wellbrock and Leonie Beck, Germany's World 10km champions in 2023 and the first man and woman to claim a ticket to the Paris 2024 Olympic marathon competitions - photo courtesy of World Aquatics

A total of 44 athletes – 22 women and 22 men – have been confirmed as having qualified for the Marathon at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games along the River Seine in August.

The 10km races will unfold on August 8 and 9, among the favourites for the men’s and women’s titles the swimmers who claimed the first tickets to Paris last July by making the medals at the 2023 World Championships in Fukuoka, Germany the only nation to grab more than one place on two podiums, with three medal winners:

Women G-S-B: Leonie Beck (GER) Chelseas Gubecka (AUS); Katie Grimes (USA)

Men G-S-B: Florian Wellbrock (GER); Kristof Rasovszky (HUN); Oliver Klemet (GER)

Merit is clearly a key criteria but the selection process for the full 44-athlete quota for Paris is not based on pure merit. It also relies on geography and the principle of universality. Being among the best 10km/marathon swimmers in the world is no guarantee of ever becoming an Olympian. Meaning: you can be among the best 10 marathon swimmers in the world and yet find yourself locked out of the Paris Olympics while swimmers ranked outside the best 20 in the world end up with the letters OLY after their names for the rest of their lives.

A similar picture on a much bigger scale is also true of pool swimming, albeit down a different pathway to qualification, which includes a cut-off of two swimmers per nation in any one individual event within the bounds of A and B qualification standards set by World Aquatics at levels often below the standards required to make the grade among many of the best swimming nations in the world.

The United States is a prime example of what that means for swimmers: a world top 5 American can find themselves never selected, while a college teammate from another nation and ranked outside the best 20 in the world may be almost guaranteed a place at one and sometimes several Olympic Games courtesy of their status back home.

There can be no question that we get too see at least one of the best of the best nations ion global competition on the very biggest of occasions but neither global nor Olympic swimming authorities, in addition to domestic federations who set very high standards for qualification based on a money for medals approach in some cases, have not extended their qualification process to take quality and merit into account, place-of-birth a part of the post-code lottery nature of Olympic sport.

Of course, that same post-code analogy is used to describe the relative advantages and disadvantages of athletes born in different places and circumstances across the world.

Meanwhile, here’s how the 44 tickets were allocated:

How The Rest Of The Paris Marathon Contenders Are Chosen

  1. As the host country, France gets an automatic NOC quota of one man and one woman for Paris 2024. However, two men and two women from France finished with a top 13 in Doha (see below), so the automatic rule is set aside in favour of the “next-best-home” principle. That meant that Brazil got a slot in the women’s competition courtesy of France’s qualification on merit; and Austria got a slot in the men’s competition for the same reason.

2. The final 19 places for men and 19 for women were settled in Doha last weekend in the latest world-title 10km races, Sharon van Rouwendaal (NED) and Rasovzsky the champions.

The 13 highest-placed athletes in Doha, beyond any relevant finishing places of those already qualified resulted in the following nations being confirmed as ticket holders for the Paris marathons, taking into account point 1 above and point 3 below:

Women:

  • Netherlands (1 NOC quota position)
  • Spain (2 NOC quota positions)
  • Portugal (1 NOC quota position)
  • Australia (1 NOC quota position)
  • Brazil (1 NOC quota position)
  • United States (1 NOC quota position)
  • France (2 NOC quota positions)
  • Italy (1 NOC quota position)
  • Monaco (1 NOC quota position)
  • Japan (1 NOC quota position)
  • Hungary (1 NOC quota position)

Men:

  • France (2 NOC quota positions)
  • Great Britain (2 NOC quota positions)
  • Australia (2 NOC quota positions)
  • Hungary (1 NOC quota position)
  • Italy (2 NOC quota positions)
  • Israel (1 NOC quota position)
  • Ecuador (1 NOC quota position)
  • Greece (1 NOC quota position)
  • United States (1 NOC quota position)

3. In addition to the above, four additional Marathon Swimming NOC quota positions per gender were obtained in Doha through Continental Representation criteria, translating to the following four qualifications for women and men.

Women: Great Britain (Europe); Mexico (Americas); South Africa (Africa); China (Asia)

The Continental Representation position for Oceania was placed in the “next to finish from wherever in the world” box because Australia has already taken two places in the women’s competition, in Fukuoka and then Doha. The next-home slot went to Canada.

So, after thinking she was out, Emma Finlin is in as a qualifier. Finlin just missed earning Canada the continental qualifying spot for the Americas in the Doha 10km last Saturday. The 18-year-old from the Edmonton Keyano Swim Club finished 24th, just 0.7 seconds behind 23th-place finisher Martha Sandoval of Mexico, who claimed the last Americas slot with that effort.

Men: Czech Republic (Europe); Mexico (Americas); Japan (Asia); Namibia (Africa).

For the same reasons as above, Australia’s success, the Oceania went to “next-home” from wherever in the world. The next-home slot went to Poland.

Eligibility of of pool swimmers:

The marathon qualification process also places restrictions on pool swimmers entering the fray. As World Aquatics notes: Men and women pool swimmers that achieve the Olympic qualification standard in either the 800m or 1500m freestyle and compete in at least one of these events in Paris will be eligible to compete for their country in the Paris 2024 Marathon Swimming event, provided that the country observes the rule of a maximum of two athletes per gender in Marathon Swimming at the Paris 2024 Olympics.

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