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A new world

Triathlon

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Since making their Olympic debut at Sydney 2000, triathletes have been pushing themselves to the limit in swimming, cycling and running, with the first to the finish line taking gold. There will be men’s and women’s individual events in Copacabana.
Spectator's Guide - Triathlon
  • Triathlon

About

About

Aim of the game

Athletes must complete a course consisting of a 1.5km swim, 40km cycle and 10km run in the shortest possible time

Why should you watch this?

You will be amazed by the lung-bursting endurance and mental strength of the triathletes, not to mention the stunning beauty of the setting, alongside Copacabana beach

International Federation

ITU

Olympic debut

Sydney 2000

Rules
  • Bonking

    Bonking

    A state of severe exhaustion caused by a lack of glycogen in the muscles, also known as ‘hitting the wall’

  • Dolphin Diving

    Dolphin Diving

    A series of short dives used by triathletes to get through shore-bound waves and out into open water

  • Drafting

    Drafting

    Cycling technique whereby competitors ride close behind each other to take advantage of the slipstream

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  • Triathlon originated in the United States as an alternative training programme to keep track and field athletes fit

    Triathlon originated in the United States as an alternative training programme to keep track and field athletes fit

  • The first official triathlon took place in San Diego, USA, on 25 September 1974 and consisted of a 500m swim, 8km cycle and 10km run

    The first official triathlon took place in San Diego, USA, on 25 September 1974 and consisted of a 500m swim, 8km cycle and 10km run

  • On its Olympic debut at the Sydney 2000 Games, half a million people lined the streets to watch the races

    On its Olympic debut at the Sydney 2000 Games, half a million people lined the streets to watch the races

  • At Athens 2004, Austria’s Kate Allen was 44th out of 50 in the swim and 28th after the cycling, but fought back in the run, taking the lead with 200m left to claim the gold

    At Athens 2004, Austria’s Kate Allen was 44th out of 50 in the swim and 28th after the cycling, but fought back in the run, taking the lead with 200m left to claim the gold

  • New Zealanders Hamish Carter and Bevan Docherty won gold and silver in Athens, achieving the first and so far only triathlon one-two in Olympic history

    New Zealanders Hamish Carter and Bevan Docherty won gold and silver in Athens, achieving the first and so far only triathlon one-two in Olympic history

  • A photo finish was needed to confirm that Nicola Spirig had won gold at London 2012, after the Swiss crossed the line in the same time as Sweden's Lisa Norden

    A photo finish was needed to confirm that Nicola Spirig had won gold at London 2012, after the Swiss crossed the line in the same time as Sweden's Lisa Norden

  • Australia is the most successful nation in Olympic triathlon, with five medals – one gold, two silver and two bronze

    Australia is the most successful nation in Olympic triathlon, with five medals – one gold, two silver and two bronze

  • Canada’s Simon Whitfield is the only triathlete to win two Olympic medals – gold at Sydney 2000 and silver at Beijing 2008

    Canada’s Simon Whitfield is the only triathlete to win two Olympic medals – gold at Sydney 2000 and silver at Beijing 2008

  • Great Britain's Alistair Brownlee won gold at London 2012 in the fastest time recorded at an Olympic Games, while his brother Jonathan won the bronze

    Great Britain's Alistair Brownlee won gold at London 2012 in the fastest time recorded at an Olympic Games, while his brother Jonathan won the bronze

  • Triathlon is one of the few sports with no heats

    Triathlon is one of the few sports with no heats

  • Only once in the eight Olympic competitions held has the difference between first and second been greater than 13 seconds

    Only once in the eight Olympic competitions held has the difference between first and second been greater than 13 seconds

  • Triathletes can be warned or disqualified if they threaten the safety of their rivals during any of the three sections

    Triathletes can be warned or disqualified if they threaten the safety of their rivals during any of the three sections

  • Non-Olympic 'Ironman' triathlons consist of a 3.8km swim, 180km cycle and 42km run, while 'Ultraman' competitors swim 10km, cycle 421km and run 84km

    Non-Olympic 'Ironman' triathlons consist of a 3.8km swim, 180km cycle and 42km run, while 'Ultraman' competitors swim 10km, cycle 421km and run 84km

Swim

All starting together, the competitors must swim a 1.5km course in open water, marked out by buoys, using any swimming style they want.

Cycle

Leaving the water, the athletes swap their swimming caps and goggles for a helmet, and embark on the 40km bike race.

Run

The last stage is a 10km run with the first athlete to reach the finish line winning the gold medal.

Stats

Top Medalists

Men
CAN
Simon Whitfield
1 1 0 2
NZL
Bevan Docherty
0 1 1 2
GBR
Alistair Brownlee
1 0 0 1
Women
SUI
Nicola Spirig
1 0 0 1
AUS
Emma Snowsill
1 0 0 1
AUT
Kate Allen
1 0 0 1