Olympics Sports >> Triathlon



  • 1 men's competition
  • 1 women's competition


  • Athletes must complete a course consisting of a 1.5km swim, a 40km bike ride and a 10km run, without interruption. Changes of outfit and equipment are part of the race. Athletes set off in a mass start, and the first to cross the finish line is the winner.



Triathlons are held in the Paris region of France, although more in the spirit of tradition than of sporting competition.

24 September, 1974

The first recorded triathlon takes place in San Diego, California.

18 February, 1978

Gordon Haller wins the first edition of the Ironman triathlon in Hawaii. The gruelling race consists of a 3.86km swim, a 180.25km cycle and a marathon 42.2km run.


The triathlon starts to gain popularity in Europe.

1 April, 1989

The International Triathlon Union is founded in Avignon, France.

6 August, 1989

More than 800 athletes representing 40 countries take part in the first triathlon world championships in France.


Triathlon makes its Olympic debut at the Games in Sydney.


Mark Allen (United States)

Ironman. The American's record speaks for itself: 6 victories in the Ironman world championship between 1989 and 1995. He also became the first triathlon world champion in 1989.

Simon Lessing (Great Britain)

A 5-time world champion over short course and long course between 1992 and 1998. The Olympic title eluded the South African-born Briton, who had to settle for 9th place at the Sydney Games in 2000. Also a 3-time European champion in short course.

Brigitte McMahon-Huber (Switzerland)

Brigitte Huber (who later married fellow triathlete Michael McMahon) wrote her name into the history books by becoming the first Olympic champion in the discipline. Her first major success came at the ideal moment: with a gold medal at Sydney 2000.

Copyright 2008 Agence France-Presse.


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