A triathlon is a grueling race consisting of a swim, followed by a bicycle race, followed by a run. The triathlon is an Olympic event for the first time in the 2000 Olympics in Sydney.

The segments of a triathlon have different lengths in different races, but the lengths used in the Olympics are typical: 1.5 km swim, 40 km bike, 10 km run.

These three segments are run consecutively; the racers report to prepared stations between segments to change equipment, e.g., to pick up/leave their bikes.

The Ironman is a long triathlon.

Typically, triathlons can be categorized by distance as follows:

The triathlon used to be a strictly no-drafting race on the bike course: a certain area to the rear (usually 7-10m) and side (1.5-2m) of each competitor could only be entered when passing, and for a maximum of 15 seconds.
However, this has been changed by the ITU for shorter distances. It is now allowed in many races (such as the olympic race in Sydney}; aerobars have been severely limited in those races due to safety concerns.

On the swim and run course, drafting has always been allowed.

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