What Was Triathlon Like 40 Years Ago?

May 15, 2024

At its core, triathlon has remained unchanged through the years – it’s still a swim, bike, and run. But not everything has stayed the same – there have been massive changes to fueling, training, gear, and technology since tri’s earliest iterations in the 1980s. It’s easy to romanticize the “good old days” of triathlon, and there certainly is a lot to love – but not everything was lovely. From on-course weigh-ins to swimming without wetsuits (which hadn’t yet been invented) OG triathletes just did things differently.

Despite the sport’s evolution over the years, one theme has remained the same, says triathlon historian Bob Babbitt, founder of the Challenged Athletes Foundation and host of the beloved Breakfast with Bob series, who has covered the sport for decades: “From the start, our sport has showcased the pursuit of the impossible becoming possible. The endless inspiration of those who use the sport to break boundaries has never changed.” Triathlete