More Sportsolympicsscoring rulesarticlessummer olympic sportsnew sports 2020winter olympic sports
  1. olympics
  2. articles
  3. olympic triathlon

What Is An Olympic Triathlon?

Olympic Triathlon
Pictured above are the three parts of an Olympic Triathlon, which are (from left to right) swimming, bike riding and running.
Event #1Swimming
Event #2Bike Riding
Event #3Running

Table of Contents


The triathlon is an event included in the Olympic Games, which occur every four years. Founded in 1989 and first introduced to the Olympic slate in the year 2000, the triathlon has become a mainstay that is highly enjoyed by viewers worldwide. Participants are widely regarded as some of the best athletes in the world due to the strength, endurance and speed that is necessary to complete the event.

What Events Are Included in an Olympic Triathlon?

Listed below are the three athletic competitions that make up an Olympic Triathlon. Participants must compete in all three sports, and there are no resting periods in between each portion of the event.

  1. Swimming: the first event is conducted in a body of water, and swimmers race to the finish which is positioned 1.5 kilometers (slightly less than a mile) away from the starting point
  2. Bike Riding: after completing the swim, athletes climb atop their bicycles and complete a 40 kilometer course (approximately 25 miles)
  3. Run: the final part requires athletes to run 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) on foot, with the first-place finisher becoming the winner of the entire triathlon

Keys to Success in an Olympic Triathlon

The most important yet underestimated aspect of an Olympic Triathlon is minimizing transition time. Since the event features several athletes in a race against time, transitions from one leg to another must be seamless. If an athlete finishes the swimming event in great time, yet fails to mount their bike and begin the next part of the race in a speedy manner, it becomes extremely difficult to win the entire triathlon.


Sports QuestionsOlympics Articles