Making its first appearance at the Olympics, triathlon requires proficiency in three disciplines: swimming (1.5 km), cycling (40 km) and running (10 km). Fifty competitors will line up in each of the men's and women's events, which will have as their backdrop some of Sydney's best-known landmarks. The leading men should finish the course in about 1 hr. 50 min.; the top women in a little over 2 hr.
If there is a favorite in this wide-open event, it is Great Britain's four-time world champion Simon Lessing, who doesn't race as often as most of his rivals, preferring to concentrate on the big events. Unlike other leading contenders, Lessing has never competed on the Sydney course. Australia's Craig Walton could threaten if he can build a sizable lead in the swim and bike legs. Compatriots Miles Stewart and Peter Robertson are also chances, along with the top American, Hunter Kemper.
Australians so dominate this event (to the detriment of the sport, some fear) that they confidently look forward to taking out gold, silver and bronze. The host country's three entrants are Michellie Jones, Nicole Hackett and Loretta Harrop, of whom Jones is the pick. Watch for Isabelle Mouthon of France and American Sheila Taormina.
WHEN TO WATCH
- Men Sept. 17
- Women Sept. 16