- A Sport for Athletes Only?
Olympic triathlon became an official Olympic sport in 2000 at
the Sydney Games, but it has been steadily growing in popularity
for three decades. For competitors, triathlon offers the ultimate
challenge: swimming, biking and running, competing against other
athletes and the clock, and challenging their own personal limits.
Triathlon events consist of three legs: swimming, biking and running, in that
order, according to the rules set by the International Triathlon
Union. Race distances can vary, but most triathlons use the Olympic
standards, which are a 1.5 kilometer swim, a 40-kilometer bike
ride and a 10-kilometer run.
triathlons were informal races organized by a group of athletes
in Southern California, many of them marathon runners, who were
looking for a break from the routine of their grueling training
regimens. These competitions evolved into more official
events, and the first true triathlon was held in 1974.
beginning, the sport has grown to include thousands of triathlons
held every year, in locations around the world. Triathlon
has become a popular sport for a growing number of competitors,
says Marilyn Franzen, Life Time Fitness' athletic events
director. They are appealing events because the average
person has some experience in either biking, swimming or running.
sport requires dedication and training, you don't have to
be a professional athlete to compete. Triathlons are great
for people looking for a challenge, said professional Triathlete
Becky Gibbs Lavelle. Whether an athlete looking for a new
challenge or a weekend warrior, it's a great way to reach
your physical goals, while executing a steady workout plan with
Fitness has produced and hosted an annual triathlon since 2002;
it features the largest cash purse in the history of the sport,
at $500,000. It also features a unique timing system called the
Equalizer that pits the world's best professional triathletes,
women and men, against one another for the first place prize of
The Life Time
Fitness triathlon features two race distances. The professional
division competes on the Olympic course under the Equalizer timing
format. Amateurs also may compete. Individuals may participate
on the Olympic or Short distance courses, or as part of a relay
team. The event also offers a Corporate Challenge division for
interested corporate participants.
Today, pro triathletes earn points at a minimum of three and up to five of the Life Time Tri Series events, including the Series Championship event — Life Time Tri Oceanside. In addition, there is the Toyota Triple Crown Series. The equalizer series format, the "Triple Crown" includes the Minneapolis, New York City and Oceanside events.
If you don't
catch the events broadcast in the USA, you
can still get to see many of the competitors as they go for the
gold during the next Summer Olympics.
But, watch out, you just may become yet another
of the thousands of triathletes participating in this growing
For more information,
also see in Sports - Chicago Triathlon