The popular sport of a triathlon involves three different event types consisting of swimming, cycling, and running that is completed in a continuous race format. It is an endurance sport, and the winner completes the overall race in the shortest time. Between each segment of the race, triathletes will change some of the sportswear in order to complete the next stage. For the most part, it involves only changing the footwear. The history of the sport can be traced back to the early 1900s in France. There were already several multisport events made up of three segments of various types of sports. Many of these combinations still exist today but operate under separate names. The first recording of a three-element multisport event was in 1901 that consisted of running, cycling, and canoeing. It took place in Joinville-le-Pont, a suburb of Paris. By 1921 the canoeing segment was replaced by swimming. By this time and the following decade, the sport had grown a great deal in popularity. The very first modern version of the triathlon took place in 1974 in Mission Bay, San Diego. Six years later the first European triathlon was held in Pilsen, Czechoslovakia.
It was clear with inevitable global expansion, the sport required a management group coordinating races, codifying rules, and managing international development. The first organisation formed was the Triathlon Federation International (TFI), consisting mostly of European members. It was the goal of the International Olympic Committee to add the sport to the Olympic program as soon as possible. It had the opportunity to appear as a demonstration sport at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, but only under the International Union of Modern Pentathlon and Biathlon (UIPMB). This was not what the triathlon community wanted. It spurred members of the working community on to push through the statutes and regulations of the formation of the International Triathlon Union (ITU) in February 1989, with the first ITU congress held in April 1989 in Avignon, France. Today the sport is firmly part of the Olympic movement and apart from the World Championships and Continental Championships, ITU also oversees several World Cup events as a World Tour. The federation is based in Lausanne, Switzerland. ITU changed the name to World Triathlon to fall more in line with Olympic requirements.
IRONMAN Triathlon is organised by the World Triathlon Corporation (WTC), who is owned by Advance Publications. There is a full long-distance format of the sport consisting of a 3.86 km swim, a 180.25 km bicycle ride, and a full marathon (42.2 km) run. In addition, there is the IRONMAN 70.3, which is half the distance, and the IRONMAN 5150 Series, which is more in line with the Olympic standard length.