World Triathlon Congress

The World Triathlon Congress is the general assembly of the members National Federations and Continental Confederations of World Triathlon and is its highest authority.


World Triathlon is the international governing body for the sport of Triathlon and all related multisports.

Find out more about World Triathlon Governance


World Triathlon History

The first recorded triathlon took place in San Diego, California on September 24, 1974. It was organised by the San Diego Track & Field Club as an alternative to the rigors of training on the track. The race, which took place in San Diego’s Mission Bay, consisted of a 5.3-mile run, followed by a 5-mile cycle and a 600-yard swim in the Bay. A total of 46 athletes finished the race.

Triathlon grew rapidly from its humble beginnings in San Diego and within a matter of years it became one of the fastest growing sports all over the world. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) was intrigued by the sport’s meteoric growth and began discussions to include triathlon in the Olympic Games Programme in 1988. Then IOC president Juan Antonio Samaranch arranged a meeting in Stockholm that year with the intention of including triathlon in the Olympic Games as soon as possible. At that meeting, Canadian Les McDonald was selected as President to a working committee for triathlon, with Sweden’s Sture Jonasson elected as Secretary.

The International Triathlon Union was founded one year later, on 1 April, 1989, at the first ITU Congress in Avignon, France. A total of 30 National Federations attended the initial Congress and preparations were made for the sport’s first World Championships to be held in Avignon in August that year. At this meeting, the Olympic distance was set at a 1.5-km swim, 40-km bike and 10-km run, as it remains today and Les McDonald was elected ITU’s first president. More than 800 athletes representing 40 countries competed in the first World Triathlon Championships.

Spain’s Marisol Casado was elected as ITU’s second president in November of 2008 and became an IOC member in February of 2010 at the 122nd IOC Session in Vancouver. ITU maintained its headquarters in Vancouver, Canada until 1st January, 2014 when it moved to Lausanne, Switzerland, home of the IOC.

ITU grew to include over 170 affiliated National Federations around the world, the World Cup series began in 1991 and the Dextro Energy Triathlon ITU World Championships Series, to become known as the ITU World Triathlon Series, was created as the sport’s top-tier race series in 2009, with eight races in eight different countries.

Triathlon made its Olympic debut at the 2000 Games in Sydney, with Switzerland’s Brigitte McMahon and Canada’s Simon Whitfield earning the sport’s first Olympic gold medals.

At Rio 2016, Paratriathlon made its Paralympic debut with six medal events; three men’s and three women’s. For Tokyo 2020, the Team Mixed Relay event was added to the Olympic Games for the first time.

In October 2020, the organisation officially adopted its new identity of World Triathlon, in order to better serve the development of the sport in all its forms in the clearest possible way. It continues to be the only organisation that can award the titles of World Triathlon Champions.

Logo history


1990 - 2001

2001 - 2006

2006 - 2020

2020 -



As an unequivocal confirmation of its commitment to eradicating the use of prohibited substances and methods in triathlon, World Triathlon continues to commit time, effort, energy and a substantial budget to its anti-doping mission.

Find out more about Anti-Doping



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A portal for the media to quickly gather all relevant information about World Triathlon, its events and its athletes.