Triathlon at the Summer Olympics

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Triathlon at the Summer Olympics
Triathlon pictogram.svg
IOC Discipline CodeTRI
Governing bodyITU
Events3 (men: 1; women: 1; mixed: 1)
Games
  • 1896
  • 1900
  • 1904
  • 1908
  • 1912
  • 1920
  • 1924
  • 1928
  • 1932
  • 1936
  • 1948
  • 1952
  • 1956
  • 1960
  • 1964
  • 1968
  • 1972
  • 1976
  • 1980
  • 1984
  • 1988
  • 1992
  • 1996
  • 2000

Triathlon had its Summer Olympics debut at the 2000 Games, in Sydney, when men's and women's individual events were first held, and has been contested since then. In 2021, at the delayed 2020 Summer Olympics a mixed team relay event was held for the first time. The sport, and its Olympic events, are governed by the International Triathlon Union, known since 2019 as World Triathlon.

Summary[edit]

Games Year Events Best Nation
27 2000 2  Switzerland
28 2004 2  New Zealand
29 2008 2  Australia
30 2012 2  Great Britain
31 2016 2  Great Britain
32 2020 3  Great Britain

History[edit]

The 2000 Summer Olympics saw the first appearance of the triathlon. 48 women and 52 men competed in separate triathlons. The distances used were the "international" or "standard" ones, with a 1.5 km (0.93 mi) swim, 40 km (25 mi) cycle, and a 10 km (6.2 mi) run. The 2004 triathlon was identical to the first in distance, but the 100-athlete quota was evened between 50 women and 50 men. The quota was further increased to 55 women and 55 men for the 2008 Beijing Olympics and remained the same for London 2012 and Rio 2016.

Results summary[edit]

Only one athlete, Great Britain's Alistair Brownlee, has ever won the Olympic triathlon twice (in 2012 and 2016), making him the most successful Olympic triathlete. Brother Jonathan Brownlee uniquely has won three medals in three consecutive Games, bronze in 2012, silver in 2016 and finally a gold in the inaugural team relay in 2020, thus making him the most decorated Olympic triathlete, and the only three time medalist.

Several other athletes have also won two medals, including a silver and bronze for New Zealander Bevan Docherty, and two Olympic champions, Canada's Simon Whitfield and Switzerland's Nicola Spirig, who both won a gold, followed by a silver medal. Katie Zaferes, Alex Yee and Georgia Taylor-Brown became the first triathletes to win two medals in the same Games in 2021 with the introduction of the mixed relay, the latter two athletes becoming the most successful triathlete in a single Games with a gold (relay) and a silver (individual) medal.

Great Britain is the most successful nation as of 2021, with three gold, three silver and two bronze medals. New Zealand (2004) and Great Britain (2016) are the only nations to have completed a one-two finish in an individual event. No nation has yet won both women's and men's individual events at the same Games, or indeed in any Games - in fact, only two nations, Switzerland and Great Britain, have won medals in both men's and women's individual events as of 2021, and only Great Britain have won medals in all three Olympic events, managing the feat at the 2020 Games.

A man wears a black long-sleeved wetsuit, an orange swimming cap, and blue-shaded swimming goggles. He is smiling and holds his left hand over his chest.
Canadian Simon Whitfield was the first gold medalist in the men's Olympic triathlon, in 2000.
A blue-eyed smiling woman wearing a white towel around her shoulders and a white cap with a pair of white-framed sporting sunglasses on top of it. The cap bears the Austrian Olympic committee logo.
Kate Allen of Austria came from behind to win the 2004 women's Olympic triathlon event.

Men[edit]

Games Gold Silver Bronze
2000 Sydney
details
Simon Whitfield
 Canada
Stephan Vuckovic
 Germany
Jan Řehula
 Czech Republic
2004 Athens
details
Hamish Carter
 New Zealand
Bevan Docherty
 New Zealand
Sven Riederer
 Switzerland
2008 Beijing
details
Jan Frodeno
 Germany
Simon Whitfield
 Canada
Bevan Docherty
 New Zealand
2012 London
details
Alistair Brownlee
 Great Britain
Javier Gómez Noya
 Spain
Jonathan Brownlee
 Great Britain
2016 Rio de Janeiro
details
Alistair Brownlee
 Great Britain
Jonathan Brownlee
 Great Britain
Henri Schoeman
 South Africa
2020 Tokyo
details
Kristian Blummenfelt
 Norway
Alex Yee
 Great Britain
Hayden Wilde
 New Zealand

Women[edit]

Games Gold Silver Bronze
2000 Sydney
details
Brigitte McMahon
 Switzerland
Michellie Jones
 Australia
Magali Messmer
 Switzerland
2004 Athens
details
Kate Allen
 Austria
Loretta Harrop
 Australia
Susan Williams
 United States
2008 Beijing
details
Emma Snowsill
 Australia
Vanessa Fernandes
 Portugal
Emma Moffatt
 Australia
2012 London
details
Nicola Spirig
 Switzerland
Lisa Nordén
 Sweden
Erin Densham
 Australia
2016 Rio de Janeiro
details
Gwen Jorgensen
 United States
Nicola Spirig Hug
 Switzerland
Vicky Holland
 Great Britain
2020 Tokyo
details
Flora Duffy
 Bermuda
Georgia Taylor-Brown
 Great Britain
Katie Zaferes
 United States

Mixed relay[edit]

Games Gold Silver Bronze
2020 Tokyo
details
 Great Britain (GBR)
Jessica Learmonth
Jonathan Brownlee
Georgia Taylor-Brown
Alex Yee
 United States (USA)
Katie Zaferes
Kevin McDowell
Taylor Knibb
Morgan Pearson
 France (FRA)
Léonie Périault
Dorian Coninx
Cassandre Beaugrand
Vincent Luis

Medal table[edit]

16 nations have split the thirty-nine medals awarded in the triathlon events, accurate as of the conclusion of the 2020 Olympic games.[1]

RankNationGoldSilverBronzeTotal
1 Great Britain (GBR)3328
2 Switzerland (SUI)2125
3 Australia (AUS)1225
4 New Zealand (NZL)1124
 United States (USA)1124
6 Canada (CAN)1102
 Germany (GER)1102
8 Austria (AUT)1001
 Bermuda (BER)1001
 Norway (NOR)1001
11 Portugal (POR)0101
 Spain (ESP)0101
 Sweden (SWE)0101
14 Czech Republic (CZE)0011
 France (FRA)0011
 South Africa (RSA)0011
Totals (16 nations)13131339

Qualification[edit]

Qualification spots in the triathlon are allotted to National Olympic Committees (NOCs) rather than to individual athletes.

There are five ways for NOCs to earn spots in the triathlon. NOCs can earn a maximum of three spots, though only eight nations may earn that many. Nations beyond that may earn only two spots.[2]

The first five spots go to the winners of the five regional qualifying tournaments. Three more spots go to the top three triathletes of the most recent Triathlon World Championships, though any athlete that won a regional tournament is skipped in that determination. The next 39 places go to the NOCs of those athletes highest in the ITU ranking (again, skipping those athletes that have already qualified in the first two methods). A forty-eighth place is awarded to the host country if it has not already received a spot, or to the next highest ranked athlete if the host country has. Two places are awarded by the Tripartite Commission. In the end, further five places are distributed to the NOCs without any quota through the ITU Points List, with one place for each continent.[2]

Competition[edit]

The Olympic triathlon is composed of two medal events, one for men and the other for women. Both use the same distances of 1.5 km, 40 km, and 10 km. Mass starts are used and drafting is allowed during the cycling phase.

Because of the variability of courses and uncontrollable conditions, official time based records are not kept for the triathlon. This rule applies to Olympic games as well.

Changes for Tokyo 2020[edit]

In the Olympic games, held in Tokyo, there will be the inclusion of a mixed relay race. Teams of two men and two women will compete on a course consisting of a 300m swim, 8 km cycle, and 2 km run before tagging a teammate.

Nations[edit]

The following nations have taken part in the triathlon competition.

Nation 96 00 04 08 12 20 24 28 32 36 48 52 56 60 64 68 72 76 80 84 88 92 96 00 04 08 12 16 20 Years
 Argentina (ARG)                                               1 2 1 2 1 5
 Australia (AUS)                                               6 6 5 6 6 6 6
 Austria (AUT)                                               1 3 4 2 3 4 6
 Azerbaijan (AZE)                                               1 1 2
 Barbados (BAR)                                               1 1
 Belgium (BEL)                                               2 2 2 2 4 4 6
 Bermuda (BER)                                               1 1 2 1 1 5
 Brazil (BRA)                                               6 6 3 3 2 3 6
 Canada (CAN)                                               4 5 6 5 5 4 6
 Chile (CHI)                                               1 1 2 1 2 5
 China (CHN)                                               2 2 3 2 2 1 6
 Colombia (COL)                                               1 1 1 3
 Costa Rica (CRC)                                               1 1 1 3
 Czech Republic (CZE)                                               4 5 3 4 1 2 6
 Denmark (DEN)                                               2 1 1 2 1 5
 Ecuador (ECU)                                               1 1 1 3
 Estonia (EST)                                               1 1 1 1 4
 France (FRA)                                               6 4 5 6 5 5 6
 Germany (GER)                                               4 5 6 6 5 4 6
 Great Britain (GBR)                                               6 6 5 6 6 5 6
 Greece (GRE)                                               1 1 1 3
 Hong Kong (HKG)                                               1 2 1 3
 Hungary (HUN)                                               4 2 2 1 4 4 6
 Ireland (IRL)                                               1 2 2 2 4
 Israel (ISR)                                               1 2 2
 Italy (ITA)                                               3 3 4 3 4 5 6
 Jamaica (JAM)                                               1 1
 Japan (JPN)                                               6 5 5 5 4 4 6
 Jordan (JOR)                                               1 1
 Kazakhstan (KAZ)                                               2 3 1 3
 Luxembourg (LUX)                                               1 1 2 1 4
 Mauritius (MRI)                                               1 1 2
 Mexico (MEX)                                               2 2 2 5 4 5
 Monaco (MON)                                               1 1
 Morocco (MAR)                                               1 1
 Netherlands (NED)                                               6 2 2 2 2 4 6
 Netherlands Antilles (AHO)                                               1 1
 New Zealand (NZL)                                               4 4 2 6 4 4 6
 Norway (NOR)                                               1 4 2
 Poland (POL)                                               3 3 1 3
 Portugal (POR)                                               1 3 2 3 3 5
 Russia (RUS)                                               1 3 5 5 6 4 6
 Romania (ROU)                                               1 1
 Slovakia (SVK)                                               1 1 1 3
 Slovenia (SLO)                                               1 1 2
 South Africa (RSA)                                               2 2 2 3 4 4 6
 South Korea (KOR)                                               1 1
 Spain (ESP)                                               4 6 4 6 6 5 6
 Sweden (SWE)                                               1 1 1 1 4
 Switzerland (SUI)                                               6 5 6 4 4 4 6
 Syria (SYR)                                               1 1 2
 Ukraine (UKR)                                               2 2 3 2 1 1 6
 United States (USA)                                               6 6 6 5 6 5 6
 Venezuela (VEN)                                               1 1 2
 Zimbabwe (ZIM)                                               1 1 1 3
Nations 34 34 37 39 41 38
Competitors 100 100 110 110 110 110
Year 96 00 04 08 12 20 24 28 32 36 48 52 56 60 64 68 72 76 80 84 88 92 96 00 04 08 12 16 20

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Olympic Analytics - Medals by Countries". olympanalyt.com. Retrieved 2022-01-31.
  2. ^ a b "Qualification System – Games of the XXXI Olympiad – Triathlon" (PDF). February 2014. Retrieved 24 September 2015.

External links[edit]