Even though there are only two triathlon events at a given Olympics (one for men, one for women), the amount of incredible moments far exceeds the number of races.
The triathlon is one of the most intense endurance races at the Olympics – and in sport. Kicking off with a 1.5km swim (approximately .93 of a mile), triathletes then bolt out of the water to bike 40km (approximately 24.8 miles). They then dismount their bikes and run 10km (approximately 6.2 miles) to the finish line.
Though it’s not required, athletes generally collapse (at least temporarily) immediately after they clock an official time.
Adding to the drama: Transition periods factor into the overall race time. Therefore, triathletes must train to mount their bikes and slip into and out of their shoes as quickly and efficiently as possible.
The men’s race took place on a muggy Thursday morning. As soon as the horn blared, 55 triathletes ran and dolphin dived into the ocean off Fort Copacabana. The swimmers quickly divided into three squadrons. Slovakia’s Richard Varga held the lead and won the leg in 17 minutes and 18 seconds.