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Olympic triathlon halved in Tokyo? Or rather, the addition of a sprint…

Credit: ITU Media
Credit: ITU Media

— By Alex Saint-Jalm, editor of Trimes

Translated from French.

For a few months now, different players from national triathlon federations have been throwing around the possibility of changing up the distance for future Olympic Games. The current distance, known as “Olympic” (1500 m swim, 40 km bike and 10 km run) would turn into a sprint (half the distance). Every time we brought up this rumour with ITU employees, they denied it. However, last week, none other than the president of the International Triathlon Union dragged the topic back up. Marisol Casado just admitted that she would like to see the appearance of the sprint course at the Olympics because this would give triathlon better media coverage, but most of all, would help with the introduction of a mixed relay format race as well.

Media outlets who got ahold of the story early first published this info saying that the Olympic race would become a sprint, but in fact, the true goal is to have an additional triathlon at the Olympics — a sprint race — not halving the current Olympic distance. This decision won’t be made solely by the ITU — it’s the International Olympic Committee’s decision as well. It’s the role of the international federation to come up with new ideas. If disciplines such as athletics or swimming can hold on multiple races, why not triathlon? For now, priority remains the inclusion of the mixed relay for Tokyo 2020. The decision is expected to be announced in early 2017. This idea was initially rejected for Rio Olympics. The project of holding three races in future Olympic Games (Olympic, sprint and relay) is realistically for the 2024 Games to be held in either Paris, Los Angeles or Budapest.