Men’s Triathlon Kicks Off With Bizarre False Start, First in Olympic History

The men’s triathlon, set to start early Monday morning in Tokyo, got off to quite the start—two starts, to be exact.

The 56 contestants took their marks, and when the buzzer sounded, roughly two thirds of them dove into the water. The rest, however, were unable to enter the body of water because a motor boat, carrying media equipment, was in their direct line of motion. In somewhat chaotic fashion, the boat then tried to reverse its engine away from the swimmers, but the last-ditch effort was to no avail. Many swimmers remained on the dock, unsure if it was safe to enter the water.

Thirteen seconds after the race began, the buzzer sounded once again; only this time, the noise indicated a false start call, the first-ever call of its kind in an Olympic triathlon event.

Some of the swimmers did not hear the false start buzzer and continued on their way. Olympic support staff drove boats towards the swimmers to relay the message and bring them back to the dock, where they would eventually restart the race. The leaders had already swam roughly 200 meters.

“It’s simply remarkable to see that,” the announcers said.

About ten minutes after the race started, the contestants dove into the water for a restart, some making their first entrance, others simply reemerging.


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