Triathlon is a relatively new sport with its modern incarnation said to have begun in San Diego, California, in the 1970s. Ironman Hawaii, the iconic long-distance triathlon (3.8km swim/180km bike/42.2km run), was first hosted in 1978, reportedly after a dispute between swimmers, bikers and runners about who was the fittest.
Superstars like Dave Scott, Mark Allen and Britain’s Simon Lessing have since lit up the sport, with Julie Moss’s famous crawl to the finish line at Hawaii in 1982 entering sporting folklore. Triathlon has been hosted at the Olympics since 2000, with the champion from that year, Simon Whitfield, on the Hyde Park start line for his fourth Games. Active triathletes in the UK now number over 100,000.
Despite Helen Jenkins’ best efforts on Saturday (Bridgend’s reigning International Triathlon Union World Champion finished fifth), Team GB has yet to secure a triathlon medal at any Olympic Games. But, with Alistair the 2009 and 2011 ITU World Champion and his younger brother Jonny a double World Sprint Champ, that looks set to change come 11:30am on Tuesday.