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Definition: triathlon from Dictionary of Sports and Games Terminology

(Olympics) a race in which athletes compete in swimming, cycling, and long-distance running [Greek tri-, “three,” and athlon, “contest”]


Summary Article: triathlon from The Columbia Encyclopedia

athletic event made up of three contests. Since the 1970s the term has come to mean especially a race combining swimming, bicycling, and running. A notable example is Hawaii's Ironman Triathlon, held since 1978, which features a 2.5-mi (4-km) swim, a 112-mi (180-km) bicycle race, and a 26-mi (42-km) run. Most triathlons, however, especially those held in urban areas, cover shorter distances. The Olympic triathlon, first held in 2000, combines a 1,500-m (.93-mi) swim, a 40-km (24.8-mi) bicycle race, and a 10-km (6.2-mi) run. Another form of triathlon is a women's track-and-field event combining the 100-m dash, the high jump, and the shot put.

The Columbia Encyclopedia, © Columbia University Press 2017

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