Three In One : Triathlon

Triathlon, as its name suggests, is a sport that forces the human body as much as possible, with three sports being together, more precisely one after the other. Swimming, cycling, running. Being an amateur athlete for one of these requires a disiplined work, there is no doubt that the physical and mental difficulty of reaching a certain level in these three sports is very high. So why we’re bringing together these three very difficult sports and pushing the limits of our own bodies?

Man likes to test his limits, doesn’t want to be content with what they have, always want to move forward or wants to be superior to another. About a century ago, perhaps, there were a few people who thought that we could make these existing sports more complicated. And these people added the following triple combination to the 3rd Modern Olympic Games held in Saint Louis, USA in 1904: Long jump, shot put, sprint running in 100 yards. This combination is not much like today’s triathlon but it has referred to as triathlon in almanacs in the almanacs. As far as we know, swimming, cycling and running sports, which make up the triathlon trio of today, met in 1921. The “Auto” newspaper, the creator of the Tour de France, known today as “l’Equipe”, organized a triathlon race for a total length of 14 km. in France. From this time on, the triathlon has began to evolve to today’s triathlon and it has became the modern triathlons in 1974 at USA. In Saint Diego, two athletes Jack Johnstone and Don Shanahan organized a triathlon with 8 km of cycling, 8 km of running and 450 m of swimming. Subsequently, with the help of small local advertisements and volunteers, sportsmen are convinced to try something new and the first modern triathlon was held on the 25th September 1974 at 15:45 with the participation of 46 triathletes. Bill Phillips was the first winner of the first attempt.

After a while, these distances have became unsatisfactory for the athletes. Crazy American John Collins organized a crazy triathlon with 3824 m swimming, 179 km cycling and a full marathon distance, 42195 m running. And he said : “Whoever finishes first, we’ll call him the Iron Man”. The 27-year-old taxi driver and sports lover Gordon Haller finished this races first and became the first Iron Man. The triathlon with these distances is still running today and is known as the “Iron Man Category”.


Today, the triathlon is an olympic sport. In 1994, the triathlon was accepted by the International Olympic Committee as an olympic sport. It took place for the first time at the 2000 Sydney Olimpics and it’s still maintaining its olympic position ever since. The first known triathlon experiment in our country was performed with 30 km bicycle, 1 km swimming and 6 km running distance at Bogazici University Sports Day. However, Nihat Aydın has ran, for the first time in our country, the olympic distances at Eskişehir in 1988 and he was called as the first Turkish triathlete.

In Turkey, today, many professional and amateur athletes are interested in triathlon. The new meeting point of Turkish triathletes and of the athletes from various countries of the world will be Samsun. The triathlon races will be held on August 5th in the Samsun city center, not in Şahinkaya Canyon, unlike other sports branches. Short, Olympic and long-distance triathlon races will be held in memory of Nihat Aydın, the first triathlete of Turkey and 350 athletes from 9 countries will push their limits with the fresh air of Black Sea.