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Triathlon at the 2012 London Summer Olympics

The Triathlon at the 2012 Olympics will take place at Hyde Park, in London. Hyde Park is one of the eight Royal Parks and will include a temporary seating area for up to 3,000 viewers for the Olympic event. The women’s event is scheduled for August 4th, and the men’s event will follow on August 11.

A Triathlon is made up of three separate endurance events: swimming, cycling and running. They are run back to back, so the competitors get no breaks in between. The goal is to achieve the best finishing time.

The 2012 triathlon in London passes a number of British landmarks. The swim takes place in the Serpentine, followed by a bicycle ride that starts at Queen Mother’s Gate, through Wellington Arch, down Constitution Hill and finally to Birdcage Walk in front of Buckingham Palace, ending in Hyde Park for a four-lap run around the Serpentine.

For the first time at the Olympic Games, a box will be present where participants will have to serve penalties. Previously, incurred penalties would be resolved by adding time to the finish time of the athlete.

Anyone interested in competing in the Olympic Triathlon must go through qualification. Qualifications last for two years. Athletes use their best times from 14 triathlon events, 6 events from the first qualifying year, and 8 from the second. The remaining points are applied depending on the event that was undertaken.

  • 1000 points awarded for the World Championship grand finals in 2010 and 2011.

  • 1000 points awarded for the Olympic qualification event in 2011.

  • 800 points awarded for winning one of the ten World Championships events.

  • 500 points awarded for winners of the World Cup.

  • 400 points awarded for Continental Championships.

  • All qualifiers must finish in the top 50.

  • All qualifiers must finish within 5% of the winner’s time for men’s events and 8% for women’s events.

The men’s and women’s events are structured the same:

  • Each event will have 55 participants.

  • Each event consists of the following:

    • 1.5 kilometer (0.93 mile) swim

    • 40 kilometer (25 mile) cycle

    • 10 kilometer (6.2 mile) run

Triathlons are believed to have originated in France in the 1920s. There are records of races containing three sports in Marseilles, in 1921, and again later in La Rochelle, in 1934. The introduction into the United States was believed to have occurred on September 25, 1974, in San Diego. The Triathlon became an Olympic event in the 2000 Olympics, held in Sydney, Australia.

For more information and complete rules, visit the website of the sport’s governing body, the International Triathlon Union.

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