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Triathlon federation boss wants Olympic races shortened

Triathlon - Olympics: Day 15

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 20: Gwen Jorgensen of the United States (20) leads the group as she rides during the Women’s Triathlon on Day 15 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at Fort Copacabana on August 20, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images)

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The president of the International Triathlon Union wants to reduce the distance of Olympic triathlons, potentially by 50 percent, according to the Times of London.

“It is very attractive to TV, and this is something very important to maintain the sport in the Olympic Games,” ITU president and International Olympic Committee member Marisol Casado said, according to the report, which added that an announcement is expected in the first half of 2017 and that semifinal races could be added, too. “It is something very important for the whole organization to discuss.”

In ITU World Series racing, there are Olympic-distance triathlons including a 1500m swim, 40km bike and 10km run as well as sprint-distance triathlons including a 750m swim, 20km bike and 5km run.

Olympic-distance races are won in a little under two hours. The sprints are less than one hour.

“It’s quicker and more dynamic from a spectator point of view, but I’ve lost count of the number of people who have come up to me and said it’s the toughness of the event that appeals,” two-time Olympic champion Alistair Brownlee said, according to the report. “It’d be a real shame to lose that.”

For years, Casado has pushed for a mixed-gender Olympic relay event to be added to the Olympic program and still hopes for Tokyo 2020. The IOC would have to approve any Olympic program changes.

Triathlon debuted at the 2000 Sydney Games.

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