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Learn More About Triathlon

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What is the History of the Triathlon?

The triathlon was invented by the San Diego Track Club in the 1970s. The Track Club created the triathlon as a new way to train for track races because they were growing bored of just running. The first event hosted included a 10km run, 8km cycle, and 500m swim.

The International Triathlon Union was founded in 1989 and the first triathlon World Championship took place shortly after. Since the triathlon’s initial World Championship debut, more races have been added and the sport continues to grow. Now, people from every country compete in triathlons to gauge their physical and mental ability.

Triathlon at the Olympic Games

The triathlon was first included in the Olympic Games in the 2000 Sydney Games. Canada’s Simon Whitfield and Switzerland's Brigitte McMahon were the first triathlon winners, taking home the gold medal in the 2000 Games. In 2016, Team USA took home their first medal. Gwen Jorgenson won the gold beating Nicola Spirig Hug and Vicky Holland of Switzerland and the United Kingdom, respectively. While there is no clear dominant country in the triathlon, Great Britain has taken home the most medals.

What are the Current Olympic Triathlon Events?

Until the Tokyo Olympics, there were only two Olympic triathlon events: individual men and individual women. For the first time, there will also be a mixed relay event. The event will be composed of two men and two women on each team and last less than 90 minutes. Read more about the mixed relay.

Visit USA Triathlon to learn more

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