Paris 2024: Introduction to Para triathlon

As many as 120 Para triathletes will race in the heart of French capital at the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games 23 Jun 2024
Two female Para triathletes are exiting the water
The Paris 2024 Paralympic Games will take place between 28 August and 8 September 2024.
ⒸJoel Marklund/ OIS

Welcome to Week 18 of Paris 2024 Sport Weeks. This week, everything you need to know about Para triathlon.

Para triathlon requires endurance, strength and trusted teamwork to make it to the finish line. Up to 120 athletes will compete across swimming, cycling and running in 11 medal events at the Paris 2024 Paralympics.


Brief history of Para triathlon

Para triathlon made its debut in the sea off Copacabana Beach at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.

There were six medal events (three men, three women), with the USA topping the medals table with two golds, a silver and a bronze. Grace Norman and Allysa Seely brought home the golds for the US.

Para triathlon made its Paralympic debut at Rio 2016. @Bob Martin/OIS

The Tokyo 2020 Paralympics featured eight medal events. Three athletes – Allysa Seely of the USA, Jetze Plat of the Netherlands and Martin Schulz of Germany – won their second gold medal in the sport.

With five golds, three silver and a bronze, the United States is the most successful country in Para triathlon at the Paralympics. Great Britain follows with two golds, three silver and two bronze medals and the Netherlands with two golds and a silver.


What to watch in Para triathlon

In Para triathlon, athletes race for the fastest time across swimming, cycling and running. At the Paralympics, athletes race in a 750-metre swim, a 20-kilometre ride and a 5-km run.

Athletes compete in different sport classes based on the degree of activity limitation involved in triathlon. In the seated races, athletes use a handcycle in the cycling segment and a racing wheelchair for the running segment.

Athletes use a handcycle in the cycling segment in seated races. @Joel Marklund/OIS

In the standing events, athletes may modify their bikes and use assistive equipment, such as prosthetic legs.

And in the vision impairment event, athletes are assisted by a guide throughout the competition. Both are connected by a tether in the swim, ride in tandem with the guide in the front, and also use a tether in the run. 

Para athletes ride in tandem with their guide in the vision impairment event. @Joe Toth/OIS

Success in the competition also requires quick and seamless transitions from swim, bike and run. They need to switch from wetsuits to cycling outfits and equipment, and then to running shows or equipment.

Since the transitions impact athletes’ total race time, they might get help getting lifted or getting equipment ready. They also use various techniques to switch into their equipment or put on their prosthetic legs much more quickly.

Para triathletes can get help lifted or getting equipment ready during competition. @Bob Martin/OIS


Memorable Paralympic moments 

Held along the iconic Copacabana Beach with the sun shining, the sport’s first Paralympic appearance at Rio 2016 was a big moment for both athletes and spectators.

Grace Norman won her maiden Paralympic gold medal at age 18. @Buda Mendes/Getty Images

Grace Norman captured the first women’s Para triathlon at 18 years old. She pulled off a surprising victory over British favourite Lauren Steadman in the women’s PT4 event.

Germany’s Martin Schulz stamped his dominance in the men’s PT4 race, crossing the line 30 seconds ahead of his rival and silver medallist Stefan Daniel of Canada.

At the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics, home hero Hideki Uda earned the silver medal in the men’s individual PTS4 event in his Paralympic debut. The race was won by French star Alexis Hanquinquant. All eyes will be on Hanquinquant when he aims to defend his title in front of a home crowd at Paris 2024. 

Alexis Hanquinquant aims to defend his title in front of a home crowd at the Paris 2024 Paralympics. @Lintao Zhang/Getty Images

Kendall Gretsch, a two-time Paralympic champion in Para Nordic skiing, overtook Australia’s Lauren Parker at the finish line to win her career's first Para triathlon title by a mere second.

“As soon as I saw her, I was like, 'Hey, you just have to do it. You have to give everything you can'. On that final stretch I just put my head down and that was all I could do,” Gretsch said after her victory in the women’s PTWC race.

Kendall Gretsch, right, finished just a mere second ahead of Lauren Parker the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics. @Alex Pantling/Getty Images

Spain’s Susana Rodriguez won the women's PTVI race with her guide Sara Loehr, just months after she was featured on the cover of Time Magazine. The magazine covered her role on the front line of the fight against the COVID-19 in her country. She treated patients in 2020, when she was only able to train at home due to the pandemic. 

Spain’s Susana Rodriguez, right, won the women's PTVI race with her guide Sara Loehr. @Lintao Zhang/Getty Images


Paris 2024 programme

Para triathlon events at the Paris 2024 Paralympics will take place on 1 and 2 September.


Men’s events








Women’s events







Paris 2024 course

Para triathlon at the Paris 2024 Paralympics will start and finish on the Pont Alexandre III, a bridge between the Seine’s two banks in central Paris. The bridge, which is 45m wide and 107m long, connects the neighbourhoods of the Champs-Elysees and the Invalides.

Para triathlon events at the Paris 2024 Paralympics will take place on 1 and 2 September. @Paris 2024/ Jean-Louis Bellurget

Athletes will start with a 750m swim in the Seine before they race near iconic landmarks and monuments, including the Grand Palais, in the biking and running segments.

@Paris 2024

Learn more about the Paris 2024 Para triathlon course


Discover more about Para triathlon and the 22 sports in the Paris 2024 Paralympic sports programme 

Book your tickets for the Paralympic Games by visiting the Paris 2024 ticketing website