The relationships between science and sport: application in triathlon

Int J Sports Physiol Perform. 2007 Sep;2(3):315-22. doi: 10.1123/ijspp.2.3.315.


The relationships between sport sciences and sports are complex and changeable, and it is not clear how they reciprocally influence each other. By looking at the relationship between sport sciences and the "new" (~30-year-old) sport of triathlon, together with changes in scientific fields or topics that have occurred between 1984 and 2006 (278 publications), one observes that the change in the sport itself (eg, distance of the events, wetsuit, and drafting) can influence the specific focus of investigation. The sport-scientific fraternity has successfully used triathlon as a model of prolonged strenuous competition to investigate acute physiological adaptations and trauma, as support for better understanding cross-training effects, and, more recently, as a competitive sport with specific demands and physiological features. This commentary discusses the evolution of the scientific study of triathlon and how the development of the sport has affected the nature of scientific investigation directly related to triathlon and endurance sport in general.

MeSH terms

  • Bicycling / physiology*
  • Competitive Behavior*
  • Evidence-Based Medicine*
  • Exercise Tolerance / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Muscle Fatigue / physiology*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology
  • Running / physiology*
  • Swimming / physiology*