triathlon (n.) Look up triathlon at
1970, from tri- "three" + Greek athlon "contest;" formed on model of decathlon, biathlon, etc. Originally of various combinations of events; one of the earliest so called combined clay-pigeon shooting, fly-fishing, and horse-jumping; another was cross-country skiing, target shooting, and a giant slalom run; and a third connected to the U.S. Army involved shooting, swimming, and running. Applied to the combination of a long swim, a bicycle-race, and a marathon by 1981.