Triathlon is the spectacular combination of the traditional disciplines of endurance
sports: swimming, cycling, and running. Still a sport for specific individualists in the 80’s, it has long outgrown its niche-market roots. At the Olympics in 2000, the sport was inducted for the
first time into the Olympic Programme, with the then-called “short distance” or “Olympic distance” of 1.5 km swim, 40 km bike and 10 km run. Through this, as well as the so-called “sprint
distance“ (0.5 km swim – 22 km bike – 5 km run), the triathlon gradually received the aura of a healthy form of sports for all generations.
Triathlons have witnessed rapid growth over the last decade. It is seen as the fastest growing sport in the world today. Triathlon joined the Olympics at the Sydney 2000 Games in Australia with a single event for men and another for women further raising the interest and attention of the sport. The recent Olympics saw the triathlon watched on the streets of London by over 200,000 fans. Triathlon became a global household name.
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As a multi-sport event, Triathlon has seen its growth come from various sources. One major contributing factor came from the medical fraternity, those runners or cyclists who for years pounded the roads later in life were restricted by injury, doctors began advising athletes from various sports to consider swimming as a good form of recovery, health, and fitness without similar strains on the body. Runners were also asked to try cycling and cyclists to swim. A growing number of talented athletes began training multiple disciplines, but also finding a new sport enabling them to compete in. The newer generation of triathletes coming through have been training in all three disciplines from a young age, raising the standards of professionalism.
More children getting involved and excited about triathlon. Companies are beginning to understand the marketing power of the endurance and multisport demographic.
There is a reason that triathlon gains in popularity - it's a real challenge, but also great fun!