14 November 2019

Get Set for Rio – Triathlon: When, what and who to watch

July 14, 2016

This multi discipline event sees athletes compete over swimming, cycling and running. Having boomed in popularity in the UK in recent years and with huge success in both the mens and women’s teams, it is expected to be one of the most hotly anticipated events of the Games.


Britain have three places in both the men’s and women’s events and stand a great chance of multiple medals in both.

Venue: Fort Copacabana
Date:  Women – Saturday 20 August. Men – Thursday 18 August
Time: 11.00am (3pm UK time)

The venue
Fort Copacabana is the starting point – set at one end of Copacabana Beach, it promises an inspiring atmosphere for athletes and spectators.

Ones to watch
Team GB’s Helen Jenkins finished 5th at London 2012 and has since had a lot of time away from the sport due to injury. She’s now back on form and qualified for Rio after victory at the Gold Coast World Series event in April. Non Stanford and Vicky Holland also have a realistic chance of a top three finish having both medalled at World Cup events this year.

The main opposition will come from the Gwen Jorgensen (USA) who has dominated the World series since 2014. Look out for on-form Flora Duffy (Ber) and Andrea Hewitt (NZ) too.

Jargon buster

Transition: The changeover from one discipline to the next

Transition time: The time it takes a competitor to change from 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

Basic rules

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 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.

Who to follow on twitter

@heljinx – Helen Jenkins
@NonStanford – Non Stanford
@VixHolland – Vicky Holland
@BritTri – British Triathlon

Triathlon Olympic fact

Distribution of triathlon titles in the Olympic Games is so diversified that, to date, only Switzerland has won more than one gold (at London 2012 and Sydney 2000) and only Canadian Simon Whitfield has taken the podium more than once (to receive gold at Sydney 2000 and silver at Beijing 2008)

The Women’s Sports Magazine






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