Delgado, A., Diaz, E., Perez, C., Ruiz, C. G., & Rivera, M. A. (2009). Associations between Olympic distance triathlon timed segments: Longitudinal data from 19 World Championships. ACSM 56th Annual Meeting, Seattle, Washington. Presentation number 2913.

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"The Olympic triathlon consists of a 1.5 km swim, 40 km bike ride, and a 10 km run. The relative importance of each segment in determining the total time in Olympic distance triathlon performance is unclear."

This study examined the relationship between segmental times in swimming, cycling, and running and the total time in the Olympic distance triathlon using data from 19 consecutive Olympic distance triathlon World Championships (1989 to 2008). Official results for world championships were gathered from the International Triathlon Union public domain database. Variables included gender (M = 923; F = 815), swimming time, cycling time, running time, total time, and event year. Pearson correlation coefficients were calculated after sorting the data by gender and adjusting for event year.

In females, correlations were total time to swimming time, r = 0.46; total time to cycling time, r = 0.70; and total time to running time, r = 0.69. Total time correlated to swimming time was significantly less than total time correlated to cycling or running time. In males, correlations were total time to swimming time, r = 0.39; total time to cycling time, r = 0.55; and total time to running time, r = 0.62 (each correlation being significantly different from the others).

Implication. The performance contributions of every activity in triathlons are gender different in elite Olympic distance triathletes.

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