What is the history of triathlons?
A triathlon involves the completion of three sequential endurance fields, therefore, it’s known as a multiple-stage competition. The triathlon involves cycling, swimming, and running in immediate succession over different distances in its most popular type, while many variations of the sport also exist.
Triathlon was introduced in the France in the 1920s. The first race was called “Les trios sports” which literally means “Three Sports”. This race consisted of crossing the channel Marne, a 3km run, and a 12km bike ride.
In 1934 the race came up with some changes, as it consisted of crossing the channel, a 1200 meter run and, a 10km bike ride.
Triathlon in America:
In America, the triathlon’s roots are found in Southern California, where it started in the 1970s. In San Diego, the first Mission Bay Triathlon was held on September 25, 1974.
This date is considered to be the official “birthday” of the modern triathlon. This multisport event consisted of a 5-mile bike ride, a 500-yard swim, and a 6-mile run and around 46 people showed up to compete in this event.
Beginning of the Ironman:
The beginnings of the most popular triathlon in the world started to unfold in Hawaii, as the sport started to catch on more and more.
Three separate events – The Honolulu Marathon (26.2 miles), The Oahu Bike Race (112 miles), and the Waikiki Rough Water Swim (2.4 miles) - were combined in 1978 to form the Hawaii Ironman Triathlon.
About 15 competitors took part in the race while only 12 of them were able to make it to the finish line. The Hawaii Ironman was broadcasted by the ABC’s Worldwide Sports in 1982, and around 600 people participated in the race. In 2006 this number reached to 3000.
The official rules committees began to form as triathlon continued to grow in popularity. Today, for the sport of triathlon there are multiple governing bodies, each sanctioning and supporting different length races.
USA Triathlon (USAT), The World Triathlon Corporation, and the International Triathlon Union (ITU) are the most prominent which licenses the Ironman series of races.
USA Triathlon (USAT):
It is the national governing body for triathlon, winter triathlon, aquathlon, and duathlon, of which it sanctions more than 2000 races each year. It was formed in 1982. The original membership was only about 1500. The membership has grown to more than 100,000 in just 25 years making it the largest multisport organization in the world.
International Triathlon Union (ITC):
It was founded in 1989 in Avignon France, the site where the first official world championships held. The Primary race of the International Triathlon Union (ITU) is the Olympic distance race. Every year a world cup series of these races is sanctioned and organized by ITU, culminating in an annual World Championship for junior pro-triathletes, elite pro-triathletes, and amateur athletes in 5-year age groups.
World Triathlon Corporation (WTC):
It was founded in 1990 and organizes and promotes the Ironman Triathlon Series, in which the Hawaii Ironman Triathlon World Championships culminate each year. Hawaii Ironman race is considered to be the most reputable event in the world by most of the people.