Australia and Olympic Triathlon
The women’s triathlon in Sydney was the first of the 300 events decided at the 2000 Games. Australia's Michellie Jones, the twice world champion (1992 and 1993), finished a close second behind Brigitte McMahon of Switzerland. In Athens 2004, Australia’s Loretta Harrop won the silver medal after being passed with just 400m left in the run. In Greece Greg Bennett finished fourth to just miss the podium.
In Beijing 2008, Emma Snowsill won Australia's first ever Olympic triathlon gold medal, taking out the women's event in true style after taking the lead in the run leg and never looking back. Teammate Emma Moffatt crossed the line in third place, winning bronze and continuing Australia’s dominance in women’s triathlon.
In one of the tightest triathlons in Olympic history, Australia’s Erin Densham produced an inspiring run to finish only two seconds off the gold medal to collect bronze in London’s iconic Hyde Park with her teammate Emma Jackson eighth while Moffatt who was also expected to challenge for the medals came off her bike in slippery conditions around Buckingham Palace and was unable to continue racing.
In London Courtney Atkinson was Australia's best men's finisher in 18th as British brothers Alistair and Jonathan Brownlee took gold and bronze on home soil. Fellow Aussies Brad Kahlefeldt and Brendan Sexton finished 32nd and 35th respectively.
Coming out of the American jogging craze in the early 1970s the first triathlon was conducted in September 1974 in San Diego, Southern California. The next quarter of a century saw the sport experience a rapid rise in global popularity and status.
Triathlon became a fully-fledged Olympic sport for men and women at Sydney 2000.
The distances for the each leg of the Olympic triathlon are: 1500m open-water swim, 40km cycle and 10km run.
Both men’s and women’s events are capped at 50 qualified competitors. After a mass start for the swim leg, the race remains continuous, with no stop between the three legs. Changeovers - better known as transitions – are vital to the race strategy. The time taken to get in and out of gear and on and off the bike can have a huge impact on the race. The leading men will take approximately 1 hour and 45 mins and the women 1 hour 50 minutes depending on the course.