The triathlon is one of the newest sports to hit the activity list. The first official competition was held in 1974 with only 46 athletes participating. Triathlon competitions have grown over the years. Competitions are held in all parts of the world.
Let's go back to the beginning of the sport. In the early 1970s, the American public was getting caught up in jogging. Long working hours kept many people from participating in sports for exercise. Cardiologists in their study of the heart were telling citizens that they needed to get more exercise in order to stay healthy. Running was something that people could do without investing a lot of money in equipment. People could run on their own schedule instead of having to spend time waiting for teammates or others to finish their games. Running could be very hard. It could also be very boring.
A man named Jack Johnston was just such a jogger. He hadn't grown up as a runner. As a matter of fact, he had been a champion swimmer. When he realized that he needed to get back into shape physically, he was drawn to jogging as a means of exercise. He realized very soon that his competitive nature would not be satisfied with running. He knew he would never be a skilled runner. He wanted to participate in something that would give him a chance to win.