Unlike the modern pentathlon, triathlon had its Olympic debut only in 2000. Up to these days, triathlon had never failed to attract more and more athletes around the world.
Triathlon can be traced back to 1974 in Mission Bay, Southern California when a group of runners, swimmers, and cyclists began training together. These training sessions developed into informal races which led the foundation of Triathlon.
It was in September 25, 1974 when the first Mission Bay Triathlon took place which was understood and directed by Jack Johnstone and Don Shanahan. In 1978, Hawaii hosted the Waikiki Rough Water Swim (2.4 miles), the Oahu Bike Race (112 miles), and the Honolulu Marathon (26.2 miles) which later roelled into one to become the "Hawaii Ironman Triathlon." The event was then added by the International Olympic Committee to the Summer Games in September of 1994.
It was in the year 2000 when the first ever Olympic Triathlon took place in Sydney during the 2000 Games. Since then, several countries have dominated the event: Canada and Switzerland in 2000; New Zealand and Austria in 2004; and Germany and Australia in 2008.
This high-profile sport involves three elements: swimming, cycling, and running. Each athlete needs to participate in all the events. At the shot of a gun, the contenders begin their swim, be it in a pool, in the sea, or in a lake. Here, a lot of pushing and kicking is seen as the crowding athletes vie to get ahead.
At the end of the swim, competitors then get ready to start on the first transition or T1. They head off to the bike racks, slip their sneakers on, and set off for the next element, cycling. This is the time when competitors find time to recharge with their sports drinks and energy bars.
At the end of the segment, the athletes then prepare for the second transition or T2. They drop their bike off, dispose them properly, and head off for the last element, the run. The winner is announced as the first athlete crosses the line. In the record, the world's leading triathlon champions finish the whole course for less than an hour and 50 minutes.
The triathlon is an extraordinary sport that tests one's endurance, flexibility, physical fitness, and mental alertness. Only athletes who are ready to face all the obstacles are qualified to compete in this game. They have to pass the preliminary test according to the Olympic standards. Training gets harder and more serious as the event approaches. The right techniques and strategies serve as weapons for an athlete to get ahead of the race. Speed, agility, and power also go along with an athlete's wit.
In this year's Olympic Games (August 4 and 7), 110 athletes (55 men, 55 women) will vie for the championship medal. Triathlon will consist of a 1,500m swim, a 40km bike ride, and a 10km run. Spectators are expected to fill Hyde Park to witness the triumph of the best athlete in this year's Olympic Triathlon.