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The International Triathlon Union, headquartered in North Vancouver, British Columbia, Canadamarker, was formed in 1989, and organizes official world championship series races for the sport of triathlon (swim-bike-run races). It was formed in part to give the growing sport of triathlon an official organizing body and in part to advocate for the entry of triathlon into the Olympic games.

The primary ITU race series is the short-course or Olympic distance Triathlon World Cup, which included twelve races in 2008. The distances for the ITU world cup races are 1500 m swim, 40 km bike, and 10 km run. They were chosen from existing swim, bike, and run distances already in the Olympic games. This distance of triathlon has become one of the primary standards in the world of triathlon.

More recently, the ITU has created a long distance race circuit with official world championships. Long Distance Triathlon races are very similar in length to Ironman Triathlon races owned and organized by the World Triathlon Corporation.

The ITU also sanctions and organizes official Aquathlon (swim-run) and Duathlon (bike-run) championships.

International structure

The ITU is structured into 5 continental regions, through which the national federations (the governing body of triathlon in each country) is affiliated to the ITU. Each of the continental regions offers a Continental Championship and Continental Cup Series.

Championships

In 2008, the following world championship events were organised by the ITU.

From 2009, the format of the ITU Triathlon World Championship will be extended to a series of six World Championship events culminating in a Grand Final. The Gold Coast, Australia will host the Grand Final in 2009.

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