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Triathlon is an Olympic type of sport, the essence of which consists in the successive passing of three stages, each of which is a separate sport (swimming, cycling, and running).


History of Triathlon

The history of triathlon originates in France. In 1920, competitions resembling a modern triathlon were held there. They were called “Les Trois Sports” and consisted of 3-km running competition, a 12-km cycling race, and crossing the Marne-Rhine Canal. Athletes passed all 3 stages without a break.

September 25, 1974, is considered to be the date of the emergence of the modern triathlon. A group of athletes specialized in different areas (runners, swimmers, and cyclists) organized a common club and started training. The first triathlon championship was held by Jack Johnstone and Don Sanaan. 46 athletes took part in it.

The first classical triathlon competitions were held in 1977, and the first European competitions took place in 1981 in Czechoslovakia. During those years, triathlon was quickly becoming popular and in 1989, there was founded the International Triathlon Union. Its main purpose was to include triathlon in the program of the Olympic Games. In the same year, the first world triathlon championship took place.

There are many triathlon competitions held at various distances around the world today. The standard Olympic distance includes 1,500-meter swimming, a 40 km race, and 10 km running. It was designed by Jim Curl in the mid-80s.

Triathlon was included in the program of the Olympic Games in 2000 in Sydney.

Triathlon Rules

Triathlon competitions always begin with swimming. Usually, the swim takes place along a triangular route (the track is marked with buoys and ropes). Shortening of the route by athletes is punishable, it can even result in disqualification. During the swim, athletes can use any swim stroke.

swimming in triathlon

The next stage of the triathlon is the bike race. After getting out of the water, athletes change clothes in a special transit zone and get on their bikes. Athletes must wear a helmet, which can only be taken off when the bike is put on a special platform or in a designated place.

bike race in triathlon

After completing the cycling race, athletes proceed to the running stage.

running in triathlon

Athletes are not allowed to interfere with each other. A yellow card may be given to the athlete for violation of this rule. The repeated violation is punished with disqualification.

Triathlon Equipment and Uniform

  • Swimming trunks or diving suit for swimming (up to 5 mm thick). The diving suit is selected according to the water temperature. Swim cap with the numbers is provided by the organizers.
  • Road bike.
  • Bike helmet.
  • Sportswear for running and cycling. For achieving the best results during the race, many athletes use cycling shoes along with clipless pedals and bicycle goggles. The most important part of running equipment is sneakers. They should be perfect for the long-running. In hot weather, it is necessary to use a hat to protect from the sun.

Triathlon Types

  • Tristar 11,1  (swimming — 100 m, cycling race — 10 km, and running — 1 km).
  • ITU Super Sprint (swimming — 400 m, cycling race — 10 km, and running — 2.5 km).
  • ITU Short Distance (swimming — 750 m, cycling race — 20 km, and running — 5 km).
  • ITU Olympic Distance (swimming — 1500 m, cycling race — 40 km, and running — 10 km).
  • WTC 5150 Series (swimming — 1500 m, cycling race — 40 km, and running — 10 km).
  • Tristar 111 (swimming — 1000 m, cycling race — 100 km, and running — 10 km).
  • ITU Long Distance (swimming — 3-4 km, cycling race — 80-120 km, and running — 20-30 km).
  • WTC 70.3 or Half-Ironman (swimming — 1.93 km, cycling race — 90 km, and running — 21.1 km).
  • Tristar 222 (swimming — 2 km, cycling race — 200 km, and running — 20 km).
  • WTC Triathlon Ironman (swimming — 3.86 km, cycling race — 180 km, and marathon race — 42.195 km).


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