The possible future of Olympic Triathlon (& Duathlon)

Olympic Games 2016

Olympic Games 2016 (Photo credit: hops_76)

Other than the fact that we won medals, the great thing about the Olympic Triathlon at London 2012 in Hyde Park was that is was able to be watched by huge crowds. Whilst I’m sure the IOC wants to maximize revenues but I think that the free events like the cycling and triathlon were ones that aroused the public’s imagination and I’m sure making many of them want to pay to see events.

With that in mind can we hope to see more triathlon/multis-port events in the olympics in future years?

I wouldn’t get your hopes up but let’s consider a few things

1. Mixed triathlon relay is at the Commonwealth Games (Glasgow 2014) and the ITU is bidding for it to be included at Rio. That’s as near a cert as we’ll get.

2. Considering global popularity, you might look at archery and then darts and wonder why they are both not in the olympics. You look at archery participation in the UK and wonder why it is in the olympics. Would you take out table tennis? No because the Chinese love it and there are a lot of Chinese. Similarly archery is big in various parts of the world like Korea. Similarly I’m sure Greco-Roman wrestling is big somewhere (former USSR states?) – maybe Greece and Rome too 🙂 So all I’m saying here is just because triathlon is a growing mass participation sport in many (probably western) countries it doesn’t mean that it should be given increased importance.

3. Including a mixed event would be great as that makes sport more unifying (between the sexes). And a mixed triathlon I’m sure is one sport where it would make sense to do it.

4. Including Sprint and other longer distances maybe even Ironman (outsode of the ITU remit I imagine) would be great and it would make as much sense as all the multiple distances of swimming events that are possible to be won by one person (which is ridiculous).

5. Duathlon will never be in the olympics unless its popularity changes massively. This is also despite it being physically harder than triathlon.

6. Is triathlon really a good spectator sport? Probably not. I think the Brits mostly only watched as we thought we would win (same with the cycling).  Similarly in Rio, if there’s not Brazilian hope the crowds will be nowhere as big as those in London. Let’s face it you see nowhere near as much of the action as you do with football (and that is only in the olympics I imagine because it is the biggest sport in the world)

7. Maybe a different format of duathlon would work run bike run bike run bike run…lots of transitions. That could be more interesting to watch…and also from a stadium too. Still it’s not going to happen is it?

8. Sprint Tri. I think it’s too similar to the Olympic distance for it to be included. It’s quite different for you and me in AG racing but I think the same faces would probably be able to win the Sprint. Maybe a super sprint would be exciting to watch and easy to fit into the timing schedules. But where are the groundswell of events?

So here’s what I think

2016: Mixed Relay in Rio

2028 Super Sprint in Paris

2036 Sprint Duathlon in Singapore

hmmm. Or should that be lol?


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