THE START OF TRIATHLON IN AUSTRALIA
Triathlon came to Australia in the early 1980s after developing mainly on the West coast of the USA in the mid to late 1970s. The first State Triathlon Associations were formed in late 1984 and early 1985. In May 1986 at Broadbeach, QLD the Triathlon Federation of Australia was formed with Dr. Jim Hazel (after whom the Australian Ultra distance Championship Trophy is named) from Sydney becoming the inaugural President and Geoff Frost from Melbourne the Vice President. In 1991 the name of the national Governing Body was changed to Triathlon Australia.
Images from 1991 Gold Coast ITU Triathlon World Championships_credit Jero Honda
TA became a founding member of the International Triathlon Union (ITU) upon its formation in April 1989 in Avignon France. The first ITU World Championships were also held in Avignon in August of that year. The distances chosen were to become the standard in short course triathlon racing - 1.5 km swim 40km cycle and 10 km run. As the swim was the equivalent of the longest Olympic pool event, the bike was the standard international time trial distance and the run the longest Olympic track event, the term "Olympic Distance" quickly became shorthand for the standard course.
Australian triathletes were successful almost from the start, with Greg Welch picking up the Elite Male World Championship title in Florida 1990. Miles Stewart followed up with a home town win in 1991 on the Gold Coast. In the female category, Michellie Jones won successive championships in Muskoka Canada in 1992 and Manchester in 1993. From that year on Australia’s dominance of the sport at the elite level has continued with many Elite, U23 and Junior titles over the years making Australia undoubtedly the most successful triathlon nation in ITU World Championship racing.
The continued success of our elite and age group athletes at numerous World Championships has been augmented by success at Olympic and Commonwealth Games. Australia has achieved podium finishes at all four Olympic Games. In2000, the silver medal was won by Michellie Jones, in 2004 the silver medal was won by Loretta Harrop, in 2008 Emma Snowsill won the Gold medal and in 2012Erin Densham won Bronze.
Australia has been successful at Commonwealth Games. At the 2002 Manchester Games, Australia took home two medals; Miles Stewart with Silver and Nicole Hackett Bronze. In Melbourne in 2006 Australia won three medals: Gold for Brad Kahlefeldt and Emma Snowsill and Bronze for Peter Robertson. At the Glasgow Games in 2014, the Australian team took home the Bronze medal in the Team Relay.
Australia again struck gold with Katie Kelly and Michellie Jones (Guide) at the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games, where Paratriathlon's made its debut onto the program.
With the recent inclusion of the ITU Triathlon Teams Relay onto the program for the2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, Australia claimed it's first gold medal at the 2017ITU Triathlon Teams Relay World Championship in Hamburg through Ashleigh Gentle, Charlotte McShane, Matt Hauser and Jake Birtwhistle.
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