A triathlon is not only a strenuous test of stamina, but also a test of a versatility, comprised of three disciplines in one event. Triathletes need to be great all-arounders who can go from swimming to cycling to running, with no breaks in between. Fast transitions are key and add to the excitement of the sport.
The triathlon is one of the fastest growing sports in the world, and a relative newcomer to the Olympic Games. The first Olympic triathlon took place in Sydney in 2000.
The event generally consists of:
Time penalties may be given for infringements, such as blocking another competitor, not fully completing the transition, or cycling in the transition zone.
The best men finish in about 1 hour, 50 minutes, with the fastest women finishing in about 2 hours. There are no heats, and the gold goes to the first athlete to cross the finish line.