The official format adopted for the ITU Team Triathlon Championships is the 4 x Mixed Relay. Each team comprises two men and two women. Each athlete completes a super-sprint triathlon of swimming, biking and running before tagging their next teammate, until each team member has competed. The distances for the 2011 ITU Team Triathlon World Championships in Lausanne event are, individually, 275m swim, 6km bike, and 1.5km run. By comparison, the distances for individual event in the Olympic Games are a 1.5km swim, 40 km bike and a 10km run. The order of the team members is fixed, where the first and third team members must be women and the second and fourth must be men. Each nation is free to decide on the team’s line-up as it pleases.
Major public broadcasters have shown their support for the International Triathlon Union’s (ITU’s) team triathlon concept, with the announcement today of further live broadcast deals for the 2011 ITU Team Triathlon World Championships. The Team and Sprint World Championships are part of ITU’s premier Series – the Dextro Energy Triathlon ITU World Championship Series; a series of eight races in iconic cities around the globe.
The BBC has confirmed that it will air 75 minutes of race action on BBC 2 on 21 August, when the team competition takes place in the Olympic city of Lausanne. The British team are one of the favourites to take gold at the event with superstar brothers Alistair and Jonathan Brownlee suiting up for Great Britain’s "dream team" alongside Hyde Park winner Helen Jenkins and teammate Jodie Stimpson.
The deals are seen as a boost for the ITU’s quest to get the team event into the Olympic Games. The International Triathlon Union is hoping for inclusion of the team discipline on the programme of the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games, and increasing the TV exposure and popularity of the format are key strategic goals for the federation.
Other major broadcasters taking the event include RAI (Italy), NHK (Japan), TVNZ (New Zealand), RTP (Portugal), NTV (Russia), TVN (Chile), One (Australia), TVE (Spain) and Universal (US). Over 50% of ITU’s broadcast deals are with free-to-air broadcasters, and in 2010 over 556 hours of triathlon were broadcast in 149 countries around the globe. ITU’s broadcast deals are arranged through its commercial partner Upsolut Sports, which is a part of the Lagadère Sports Group.
In addition, ITU are stepping up their digital campaign for the event, ensuring that the discipline connects with the large youth demographic now participating in triathlon. This is in line with the IOC’s push to engage a younger audience. The Team Triathlon Championships, like all the prime ITU races, will be available to stream live via its online TV channel – www.triathlonlive.tv. In addition, coverage is available from the official iPhone app, available to download for free from the Apple iTunes Store, via which users can get results, photos, athlete profiles, live text updates and audio commentary streamed live from the event.