Space at the Olympics is Limited

Beijing 2008

  • The number of participating nations is yet to be determined, depending on each sport's qualifying processes. There are 28 sports at the Games and 302 events.
  • The expected number of participating athletes is 10,708 for the Olympics and 4,000 for the Paralympic Games.
  • Accredited media and press is estimated at 21,600.
  • About 70,000 Games-time volunteers will be needed for the Olympic Games and 30,000 for the Paralympic Games.


In triathlon, 110 athletes will be allowed a spot on the Beijing start line—55 women on August 18 and 55 men on August 19. Of those 55 athletes per gender, a maximum of eight countries are allowed to have three athletes participating. All other countries are allowed a maximum of two athletes per gender.

It is possible for a country to have one female and three males or vice versa. The countries that will be allowed to take three athletes per gender are determined by:

"The maximum of three (3) places will be allocated to the first eight (8) National Olympic Committees (nations) to have three (3) athletes eligible through the Continental Olympic Qualifying Events, the World Championships and then the Olympic Qualification Ranking (in that order)."

The U.S.A. secured one male and one female slot for the country, thanks to Julie Ertel and Andy Potts garnering gold medals at the Pan American Games, our Continental Olympic Qualifying event. Julie and Andy are not, however, guaranteed a spot on the USA Triathlon Olympic Team.

Coming Soon: The Road to Glory

In the next column I will cover how an athlete from the U.S.A. gets to the start line for the Olympic Games. It is a long process and as you would expect, it's not an easy one. To hold the crown of "Olympic Champion" is an honor that should not be easily attainable.

Gale Bernhardt was the 2003 USA Triathlon Pan American Games and 2004 USA Triathlon Olympic coach for both the men's and women's teams. Her first Olympic experience was as a personal cycling coach at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games. Thousands of athletes have had successful training and racing experiences using Gale's pre-built, easy-to-follow training plans. For more information, click here. Let Gale and Active Trainer help you succeed.

Related Articles:

2008: An Olympic Year

Getting a Spot on the Olympic Start Line

Designing the Olympic Selection Process

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