This multi discipline event sees athletes compete over swimming, cycling and running. Having boomed in popularity in the UK in recent years, it is expected to be one of the most hotly anticipated events of the Games.
As Team GB has genuine gold medal contenders for both the men’s and women’s event this is one not to miss.
Venue: Hyde Park
Date: Saturday 4 August (women) Tuesday 7 August (men)
55 competitors will line up for a 1500m swim, a 43km cycle and a 10km run. All these disciplines are run continuously with no break, and the transition time between each one is also counted in the final time.
Competitors must follow strict rules in the transition such as having their helmet on and fastened before mounting the bike and getting off the bike before entering the transition area. If rules are broken, time penalties incur.
In the Olympics drafting is allowed on the bike leg (unlike in many triathlons) – this means riders can tuck in behind another rider to avoid wind resistance and conserve energy.
Critics say that this makes the playing field too level and means most riders finish the bike leg in a pack. As a result it is often the strongest runner that goes on to win the overall race.
Transition: The changeover from one discipline to the next
Transition time: The time it takes a competitor to change form one discipline to the next – this is counted in the overall time
Drafting: Riding in the slipstream of another cyclist to conserve energy
Bonking: When a competitor ‘hits the wall’ during an event and loses all their energy
One to watch
Britain is yet to win an Olympic medal in triathlon, but two time, and reigning world champion Helen Jenkins (pictured) will be hoping to change that. She has already qualified with her win in Hyde Park last year at the Olympic test event.
Australia’s women have dominated the triathlon scene for the last decade, but issues over their Olympic team selection will no doubt have an unsettling effect on the athletes.
However dual world champion Emma Moffatt is sure to be there, and a real threat for Jenkins. 2011 World Series runner-up Andrea Hewitt (NZ) will also be hoping to better her eight place finish in Beijing.
Who’s the gold medal favourite?
Jenkins has a great record when racing in London and has got to be the home favourite. However you can never rule out the Australian Emma’s –Moffatt, Snowsill and Jackson – and team-mate Erin Densham (selection dependant).
In the men’s race look out for the Brownlee brothers – 24 year old Alistair is the two time reigning World and European champion and younger brother Jonathon, 22, is the current World Sprint Champion and finished runner up to his brother in the ITU World Championship Series.
Who to follow on twitter…
@heljinx - Helen Jenkins
Triathlon Olympic fact
The six Triathlon events held since the sport’s Olympic debut have been won by athletes from six different countries: Canada and Switzerland in 2000; New Zealand and Austria in 2004; and Germany and Australia in 2008.
The Women’s Sports Magazine
Image credit: British Triathlon