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Last Updated: Monday, 5 July 2004, 14:15 GMT 15:15 UK
Sydney youngbloods
Simon Whitfield wins gold at the Sydney Olympics
Simon Whitfield wins gold in the shadow of Sydney Opera House
The triathlon is the youngest sport on show at the Olympics having been established as an event in the 1970s.

It made its Olympic debut four years ago and was hailed an instant hit.

The event caught the imagination prior to the start of the Games with talk of sharks in Sydney Harbour and the need for "sharkbuster" divers to protect the competitors.

And when the action started it was a case of shocks instead of sharks.

The favourites in each event were over-shadowed with Canada's Simon Whitfield and Swiss mother Brigitte McMahon taking gold.

Britain's Simon Lessing, the world record holder and five-times world champion, was a hot favourite to win the first Olympic title but trailed in a disappointing ninth.

Australia had high hopes of a home win in the women's race, but local darling Michellie Jones was edged out by two seconds in a thrilling sprint finish.

Appropriately, the name of the man who set up the first competition for this punishing sport was called Dave Pain
The event was inspired by lifeguard tests and earned a competitive element in the USA when American soldiers in Hawaii set up the Hawaii Ironman ccompetition in 1978.

The International Triathlon Union was established in 1989 when the first official world championship was held, and the sport was named in Sydney's bid documents just three years later.

Australia's faith in the sport was repaid in full four years ago, and the event promises to have a long future at the Olympics.

MEDAL TABLE (since 2000)
Country Gold Silver Bronze Total
Canada 1 0 0 1
Germany 0 1 0 1
Czech Republic 0 0 1 1
Switzerland 1 0 1 2
Australia 0 1 0 1

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