Triathlon turned out to be the ‘silent’ winner of the European Games in Krakow. Although it didn’t get as much publicity as some other disciplines, it was loud and cheerful in the stands, and the European Games showed that well-organised triathlon competitions can release incredible energy.
In swimming, cycling and running, the Norwegians proved to be the best. Solveig Lovseth won the women’s event on the first day, Vetle Bergsvik Thorn triumphed in the men’s event on the second day and finally, the Norwegian relay team with both previous gold medallists took the gold.
Interestingly, the fun atmosphere at the competition was in no way hampered by the weather conditions, which changed more often than the triathletes changed their sporting equipment. During a single day of competition, it could first be sunny, then overcast and finally rainy.
“If it is raining when we start our run, it is even pleasant. We are then provided with cooling. It is worse when it starts raining when we start cycling. Then it can be dangerous,” said Polish representative Magdalena Sudak. “But I always say that in the rain it is the audience that suffers the most. Although there was an amazing atmosphere in the stands. You could feel that people were enjoying themselves and giving us good energy. After all, that’s what we’re competing for, to bring excitement to the fans,” said Polish athlete.
It is worth noting at this point that the good musical setting at the triathlon competitions was provided by Maciej Turowiecki, one of the best (or maybe even the best) Polish DJs playing at sports events. Turowiecki, especially in the world of sport, is known as DJ Gambit, and the list of important events where he was responsible for the musical background is so long that one could actually devote a separate text to it. Suffice it to say that when Qatar hosted the athletics world championships in Doha, it was Gambit who was invited by the event organisers.
But there would have been no fun triathlon had it not been for a few other considerations. First of all, the location played a big role – and the park by the Nowa Huta Reservoir proved to be an excellent location. Secondly, the public can have fun when they have a sense of contact with the competitors at all times. And this was helped by the way the course was laid out – the triathletes didn’t just turn up in front of the grandstand when changing equipment, because the cycling race was held over eight rounds of five kilometres each. And this is completely different from when the cyclists ride away somewhere far away and the fans only learn about the course of the competition on the route thanks to the announcers or by watching the picture on a big screen.
Triathlon has many variations. In Nowa Huta, it was held in the Olympic formula, i.e. 1.5 kilometres in water, 40 kilometres on a bike and 10 kilometres running. And, as the European Games have shown, it is Olympic triathlon that can be exciting and should have a good future – not only at the Games proper, but also as a discipline to be watched, for example, when relaxing by the water at the weekend.