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2016 Rio Olympics: Triathlon

Olympic Triathlon splash

[Editor’s Note: Paul is on his annual August break from site. Deputy editor Phil Hecken is in charge from now through the end of the month, although Paul is still on the clock over at ESPN and may be popping up here occasionally.]

By Phil Hecken, with Mike Laughlin

We continue today with our look at the unis of the various sports (and some histories and backstories too) of the Rio Games of 2016. Today, I’m joined by Mike Laughlin, who will take a look at the Triathlon.

So without further ado, here’s Mike.

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Olympic Triathlon
By Mike Laughlin

By now we have all seen the Ironman Triathlon on TV, that endurance test consisting of a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride and 26.2 mile marathon run. It was even the subject of 1985 Valentine’s Day ABC made for TV movie called Challenge of Lifetime starring Penny Marshall. I would actually try one except I only know the back stroke, have to ride an adult tricycle for health reasons and haven’t ran since before the 1980 New Hampshire primary.

The triathlon is unique in terms of the clothing and equipment must work together to achieve victory. The governing body of the sport-the International Triathlon Union (ITU) has a fairly complex rulebook on the subject. Even so there is still wide latitude on what competitors will use during the event.

An Olympic triathlon consists of five stages-a 1.5 K swim (.93 mile), a transition from swim to bike, a 40 K swim (25 miles) a transition from bike to run and a 10k run (6.2 miles). The transitions are where the races are run and lost.

Tri Map

This year’s races will be held at the Praia de Copacabana in Rio:

The men’s event will be on Aug 18th and the Aug 20th will be the women’s race. Both will start at 11:00 AM local time and there will be 55 athletes in each.

So let’s go thru what an athlete will go thru on race day.

It will be late winter in Rio, last year was sunny with a real feel temp of 96.7 and a slight east wind and here’s where the first equipment decision has to be made. It is illegal to completely strip in a transition area and change to a new outfit. Therefore, what you wear here you will wear for the race. Most will opt for a “trisuit” a one piece outfit such as below:

Tri Suit

Female Speedo

Or they could opt for the traditional speedo:

Male Speedo

The athletes have the option of wearing a wetsuit that is no more than 5 millimeters thick. provided the water temperature is at or below 71.6 degrees. This will be determined two hours before race time. The competitors will make their clothing decisions at that time. They will also be required to wear a swim cap which will probably the same type the swimmers use. They are allowed to wear facemasks and goggles if they wish. Artificial aids such as paddles, gloves, fins, snorkels or footwear of any types are prohibited. I should also point out that you may like to train why wearing headphones-they are not allowed here. They will have to have their soundtrack in their head. Finally is the temporary arm tattoos showing the athletes number.

Olympic Arm Number

Tri Arm Number

The race begins with a running start into the sea and the swim, this will be an out and back type of swim with the swimmers running out of the water at the end and into the first transition area, even as they are approaching the area they are removing equipment to save time and you try not to stop. The first thing they will put on is their bike helmet.


There is one important rule at this point, the racer must have the helmet on and securely fastened before they pull the bike out of the rack and cannot unfasten and remove the helmet until after the bike is placed in the rack at the end of the bike stage. Failure to comply will mean immediate disqualification. Since bare torsos are also not allowed , bare chested men will have to put on a singlet as well. Gloves and sunglasses are permitted.

Tri Bike

Once the competitors go the bike rack they will pull their bike out.

Riders have custom bikes designed for them and must meet prescribed standards. I won’t go until too much detail as that would require an article on its own. Unlike Tour de France support vehicles are not permitted so if something goes wrong the rider must attempt to solve it by themselves.

Shoes in the Clips

To save transition time the shoes are already are in the toe clips before leaving.

Bike Transition Bike Rack

Socks are not worn to save time and most competitors will start riding barefoot and once up to speed then put their feet in the shoes. The race will be eight laps with several climbs along the way. They will have water bottles and there will be other aid stops along the way. If a bike breaks down the rider can walk or run the course as long as they are alongside the bike and are not interfering with other riders. Drafting is not allowed.

Bike Run Transition

When the bike portion is completed the racers will enter the transition area. Before entering they already have their feet out of the shoes. They cannot dismount until they are in the transition area:

Run Transition

Once they reach their rack the bike must be racked first:

Remember the racer cannot unfasten and remove the helmet until the bike is racked.

Running Shoes

Then the racer will change to running shoes:

There are models that have socks for comfort.

Female Runner

They may add a cap or visor and they are off:

The run will be for four laps around the course. Aid Stations will be along the way. When the runners are finished they may require IV’s for hydration and will have to submit to drug testing.

Since all this is based on race day conditions-we really don’t know what the athletes will wear yet, I will be back after the races to go thru that.

Also at the Paralympics the sport of Para triathlon will debut as well.

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Thanks, Mike! OK readers, what say you?

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And now a few words from Paul: Hi, folks. Just back from a great vacation in northern California and southern Oregon (more on that when I return to the blog next month). While I was away, two new installments of Key Ring Chronicles were posted. The first one, which I think will be of particular interest to Uni Watch readers, involves a Pat Patriot key tag, as shown above. You can check that out here.

In addition, Uni Watch reader Justin Cliburn submitted an excellent entry about his military ID tag and his blood donor tag, which you can see here

You can check out Justin’s entry here.

That’s it for me. Big thanks to Phil and the rest of the crew for keeping the site running in my absence!

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Jimmy Corcoran and his NFL 50th Anniversary Patch

In last Friday’s ticker, reader David Firestone sent in an E-bay listing for a Vikings game-worn 50th Anniversary Patch. That led my buddy Jimmy Corcoran (son of “King Corcoran, the WFL and NFL quarterback) to regale me with a little story of his own … and his own NFL 50th Anniversary patch.

Here’s Jimmy (you can click on any photos below to enlarge).


How are you Phil? You’re doing a great job filling in for Paul. I see you had a piece on a 1969 Vikings NFL 50 patch, I still have one too. My father was cut twice by the Eagles, in 1969 and 1971. For some reason after he was cut in 69 he ripped off the patches on his jerseys? He gave them to me when I was a kid.

My father was not a big collector of equipment he wore (it was just important for him to look good in his uniform) so I have no idea why he took the patches?. These pictures were taken of me in 1972, I dressed as an Eagle for Halloween and to make my uniform look more authentic I had my father’s NFL patch on my jersey.

jc 50-1

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I sold one a couple of years ago for seventy dollars and still have one. Until I saw your piece today I forgot all about these.

jc 50-3

I made my nephew an official Olympics cereal box, no he does not do the pole vault just plays football.

Take care,

Jimmy Corcoran


Thanks Jimmy! Great little story and cool pics.

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The Ticker
By Alex Hider

Baseball News:  The Giants gave away Abbey Road-inspired T-shirts  this weekend to commemorate the the anniversary of the Beatles’ final show, which took place in San Francisco (from Steve Dodell). … Here’s something you don’t see every day: A Dodger in striped socks. That’s Enrique Hernandez (from Fadeaway). …  The Yankees honored the 1996 World Series champs at The Stadium on Saturday with a patch. Joe Girardi, the catcher on that team, wore his old No. 25 during the pregame ceremony. He usually wears No. 28 in the dugout (from Jamie Burditt). … The Atlanta Braves will be  giving away caps in honor of EMS professionals on Sunday (from Eric Shaver). … These apparently are the spikes A-Rod was slated to wear when he hit his 700th homer. Close, but no cigar (from J. Walker). …  The folks over at Mets Police  took down a Geico commercial and its poor attention to detail.  …  A Maryland delivery service has  poached the Angels’ “Winged A” logo from the 90s (from  Zach Gibson). … The Springfield Cardinals wore Route 66-themed jerseys yesterday (from Steve Doyel). …  The Richmond Flying Squirrels have a machine called a “Baseball Renewer” which polishes out buffs and lets the team re-use BP ball (from  Tommy).

NFL News:  The Eagles wore military-themed unis for an open practice yesterday (from Thom D.). …  Colin Kaepernick has asked the NFL for permission to wear a tinted visor this season (from  Phil). … Anyone know what that logo is on the 49ers’ 25-yard-line? (From  David). … Speaking of the Niners, here’s the first in-game look of their 70th anniversary patch (from Brinke). …  It looks like the Bears will be wearing navy undershirts this year to match their jerseys. They wore white under their pads last year with their blue jerseys (from  Thomas Juettner).

College Football News:  Air Force unveiled these slick new helmets yesterday inspired by the WWII-era P-40 fighter planes (from  Phil). … The directional arrows on the field at Florida State’s Doak Campbell Stadium are now spears. Get it? (From  Ian Gerig). …  New helmets for DII Adams State in Colorado (from  Michael Skinner). … Some SMU players have been wearing guardian caps at practice (from  Timmy Westside). … Yet another new helmet for Tulane. How many does that make for them? At least five? (From  Tulane Sports Guy). … Here’s what Texas State will be wearing this fall (from  Keff Ciardello).

Olympics News:  The Washington Post ran an in-depth look at the evolution of the gymnastics leotard the other day (from  Andrew Hoenig). … Along those same lines, here’s the evolution of women’s tennis gear (from  Graham Clayton). … Here’s what the golf bags looked like for all 16 countries (from  Patrick O’Neill). …  Harvey Lee  points out that while this year’s track and field bibs are bigger than they’ve ever been, the font seems to be shrinking.

Soccer News: Apparently, England is supposed to have rules in place to keep teams from changing their kits all the time. They’re definitely not working. …  Dele Alli of Tottenham will wear his first name on his jersey because he feels “no connection” to his surname (from  Joe Hollomon). … Wolverhampton will have a new  program cover for every home match this season. Here’s week one’s (from  Chris Corbaz). … Liverpool’s Premier League patches were crooked during their match this weekend (from  Gregor Smith).

Grab Bag:    North Carolina State’s new basketball floor is taking shape (from James Gilbert). …  The Jacksonville Sharks had some serious chrome paint problems in their AFL game yesterday (from  Cody Bryant).

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And that’s it for today. Thanks to Mike for the Triathlon piece, and Alex for the Ticker — and Paul for checking back in with Key Ring Chronicles.

I’m still trying to figure out the best way to present (and allow for voting on) the Griffins Redesign Contest. As I mentioned last Friday, there are about 85 submissions, which is far too many to present at one time. I may break it into two (or even) four sets, and run those over the next several days. The first batch could be revealed as early as tomorrow, so be sure to check back then.

ATTENTION: Johnny Okray, Harrison Hamm and Lexi Dever! Please check your e-mails and reply to me ASAP. Thanks.

Until tomorrow…

Follow me on Twitter @PhilHecken.


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“Man you guys are going to be in t r o u b l e when the teacher gets back when he hears everything you said about the sub!!! HAHA”

— Tony Kellogg

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Comments (67)

    “Anyone know what that logo is on the 49ers’ 25-yard-line?”

    Looks like a reference to 1946, which ties into the 70th anniversary celebration. (Is there a ’16 on the other 25?)

    That kids Eagles helmet was a gift from Ron Waller a coach of my father’s with the Pottstown Firebirds. I would always ask Ronny if he would get me a Firebirds helmet, he told me he would do even better and get me a real Eagles one. I guess he figured since I was a kid I wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between a real one and a Sears one? When he brought this to my house the first thing I noticed were these weird shaped wings, when I said to Ronny why are the wings wrong? He had no idea what I was talking about? Like the players he paid no attention to logos and uniforms

    So true about that old school coaching ethic of not caring or noticing uni details.

    My head still spinning about the story of your Dad in locker room at RFK after the Unitas Chargers being beat down by Redskins, and your Dad whipping up half the group on how he would turn the entire mess around – within earshot of Unitas ….

    Wish I still had the very long and involved SI (?) Article on your Dad and the Firebirds and Coach Fillipo. Great article I read when itvwas new and I was maybe 14 yrs old. Maybe SI, maybe Sport, maybe even Playboy?

    In the summer of 1980 I ran into Johnny Unitas in an elevator in Ocean City Maryland, I was now 16 years old. I didn’t say anything to him, I remember the dirty look he shot my father 7 years earlier and didn’t want to piss him off.
    I have the article you are talking about, it was from a PRO magazine from 1976. I can scan it and send it to Phil?

    Pro? I never would have remembered. My good friend’s Mom was a Saints season ticket holder and had every Saints program from beginning of franchise in 1967 through whenever I read it. I would religiously read the programs cover to cover every chance I got. They are true time capsules to the NFL and the ads give a great snapshot of the nightlife of your city back then. Love it. Would love to have thatcarticle linked and posted on UniWatch – pretty topical given the teams and stories ….

    Love the Unitas sightings. I wonder if he carried that episode with him. I vividly remember watching every play of that game and it was a mess. Years later when Drew Brees beat Johnny U’s 47 game TD record, Johnny U’s son came to New Orleans for the record breaking or tying game, and he made the rounds of the Saints fans’ pregame tailgates. My gang got a photo with him. He was a really cool guy with a great attitude, totally cool. Looks just like his Dad too. I believed he played for NC State.

    I emailed the PRO article to Phil, I believe he is going to post a link to it maybe tomorrow?

    I don’t think Johnny Unitas knew who my father was that day in the locker room in 1973? Johnny had probably heard the name King Corcoran before since my father had played at Maryland and was in the paper a lot, but that day in the locker room he just looked like another guy with long hair and bell bottoms and he never introduced himself to anyone as the King, the players just kind of knew he was a QB.

    From what I understand, King Corcoran was a quarterback with brass cojones and attitude to match… but Unitas was THE quarterback and nobody else was. I’m surprised anyone survived the shock wave of those two egos bumping into each other.,,

    I have reviewed HOF and Monument Park plaques and all that have quotations are consistent with Rivera’s. So my question is why? Is that commonly used in all applications?

    Thanks Rob…apparently opening quotes are turned from the closing quotes…shocking I never realized it. Now I can be on the lookout for when they are not turned properly.

    I see you have your answer already Steve, but in simplest terms (or what I was taught in school) — double quotes are referred to as 66/99 (the open quote looks like the number sixty-six and the close quote looks like ninty-nine). A good way to remember it if you ever think quotation marks look wrong.

    The opening apostrophe with the ball part on the top was originally an link; the Romans, having the letter H to do this job, wrote it with an H.

    I had never thought of it as different from an opening apostrophe until I was doing some academic writing and had to write lots of Chinese names which have this aspiration mark in them, like the T’ang and Ch’ing dynasties, and I realized that the truly correct apostrophe orientation isn’t available in most fonts — and the 6-like opening apostrophe is more common, as is the straight one.

    I ended up settling for the 6-like one but it would have been nice to type the real one.

    Let’s see if they show up here: Tʽang China, Empress Tzʽu-hsi, Homeros Ὅμηρος.

    I don’t think I would even notice if this orientation were used for an opening quote; it actually looks more natural than the 6-like one.

    The bike leg for the triathlon is “draft legal”. Also, I believe the wetsuit rules say that wetsuits can’t be worn in water above 20 degrees C. The triathlon should be a pretty incredible event to watch!

    The olympic triathlon is indeed draft legal.

    Its important because the swimmers come out of the water in a bunch and its hard to break away in a draft legal bike race. Its not possible to win the race in the water or on the bike (though it is possible to lose it early). The “race” is all about who wins the run.

    To quote Lance Armstrong – the draft legal olympic triathlon is “a shampoo, a blow dry, and a 10k foot race”.

    Also, aerobars are not legal.

    I can’t imagine anyone wearing a wetsuit, even if its legal. They’re strong swimmers, buoyancy isn’t an issue, they’re in the water for 17 minutes, and the time to remove the wetsuit is the difference between winning and losing.

    Correct about it being draft legal and no aerobars. That said, the black Trek shown within the summary would not be a legal bike to use in the Rio event. The athletes will being using aero road bikes with drop bars as shown in some of the other photos. Maybe show a different bike for illustration purposes?

    Correct. Also, the black Trek doesn’t have pedals, which are mandatory in all triathlons.

    I’d think a bike without pedals would be hard to ride, but that’s just me.

    Paul here, making a rare August cameo. Yup, yesterday’s post was less than ideal. Was that regrettable? Yes. Does the world nonetheless keep on spinning? Also yes.

    It’s August. Stuff happens. Let’s move on. Thanks.

    Fine, but why not run a clarification/correction in the body of the entry instead of in the comments?

    Sunday was a dumpster fire… and how was Derrick Henry wearing the numeral 2 for the Titans not addressed? Clean it up, boys! College footbal is coming and we need you sharp!

    Golf Bag link – “Countries’s” – Plural Possesive Catastrophe? The representative did not recommend a Ph.D. in Grammar for me.

    Paul, were you near enough to the SF Bay Area for a uni-watch get together shindig and didn’t tell anyone?

    The new Air Force Academy helmet appears to be based more on the current nose art of the A-10 “Thunderbolt II,” rather than the World War II P-40 “Flying Tigers.”(However, the latter may well have inspired the former.)

    Something cool about the Tottenham Dele Alli jersey change… if you bought a Deli Alli jersey this year through the team store and it has ALLI on the back, send it back and he’ll sign it and send it back. Thing is I bought my shirt to wear, and I’m not sure I want the autograph on it since that makes it seem less wearable, and I’m not sure I want to send it back and forth over the Atlantic – but it’s a nice way to thank the fans.

    Spotted on eBay: link, make his name take up so much space that it had to be pushed down his back so that it could extend under his shoulders.

    A one-man argument for getting rid of NOBs and having only numbers on the backs!

    A specious argument, I’m afraid. Even my favorite team, the 1980 Padres, had one-color tackle twill for player names. I’d hate to think that copious abuse of tackle twill is what cost us vertical arching.

    The only team I can even think of off the top of my head that has ever used more than one layer while vertically arching their NOBs is the New York Rangers.

    In any case, I feel that there should never be a need for more than two color layers for the names.

    This otherwise disaster of a Knicks jersey used it too


    I think two color vertical arching, if done right, was beautiful. The key word is WAS…I doubt it would ever be done correctly again. Too labor intensive.

    On the one hand, every uniform with NOB would look better without. On the other, what that jersey is really an argument for is one-color NOBs. Or NOBs with a single, small outline, but the only time an NOB looks better with an outline than without is when the main color is bright and the outline is dark and matches the color of the jersey’s pinstripes.

    The podcast post about that being the first Dodger to wear striped socks is slightly incorrect. It’s the first Los Angeles Dodger to wear striped socks. Until they went to the first iteration of the current uniform in 1938, the Brooklyn Dodgers wore striped socks in a number of seasons.

    Solid red stripes on a blue background strike me as an ideal color scheme for the Dodgers’ stirrups.

    Non merci.
    Red is not a Dodgers color. The front numbers are red though. Any more red would steal some visual POP! from the numbers and it just wouldn’t look as good.

    Liverpool’s Premier League patches were crooked during their match this weekend (from Gregor Smith).

    Evidently the seamstress didn’t get the message the lettering was meant to be off-center.

    And based on eyballing todays game, West Ham have some off center too, Kit men apparently don’t consult the style guide

    I’m missing something here…it looks blue and they call it Royal, as in Royal Blue. What about it is purple?

    Hooboy, saw the Brazil men’s basketball uniforms today. What a disaster. The Nike template with the different coloured front and back is bad enough, but add in the neon green? Hideous.

    GEICO: Obviously (even though I’m chiming in), they got a players’ license, but not a team license.

    (That feels weird to me, because GEICO has a top-level license with the Mets at Citi Field, so you’d think that paying for the Mets logos and uniforms in a commercial wouldn’t be that hard to do – but they’re all separate agreements and royalty rates.)

    So…what was up with the LA Rams promising throwback uniforms vs. the Cowboys and then showing up looking like the St. Louis Rams?

    Interesting, on ESPN interview this morning Jeff Fisher’s team issue polo coaching shirt was totally blue and white, with Roman Gabriel-era white Rams head, white collar over solid blue shirt. No gold or yellow anywhere. That tells me, along with thevdtadium signs and logos and endzones, that the future Rams unis will likely be blue and white ….

    I don’t like to get into politics at all but when I realize the annoying geico cavemen had a sitcom, I want to pray for our nation…..or send the creators of that shitshow to Guantanamo.

    So, when does voting start for the Griffins concept jerseys, I’m excited to see what everyone made!

    I’m going to announce the format tomorrow. Voting should begin on Wednesday. Stay tuned!

Comments are closed.