Greatest Athlete Triathlon

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The Greatest Athlete Triathlon is a mult-sport event and idea created by Dhamma Wiki founder Dr. David N. Snyder. The idea was created as an alternative, shortened version of the Greatest Athlete Pentathlon, being only 3 events, instead of 5 and still providing an overall test of complete fitness, physical and mental.

A triathlon is 3 events or sports in a multi-sport competition, typically meant to test athletes in some kind of overall ability in endurance, strength, or some other traits in sports and fitness. For example, the Ironman Triathlon tests athletes in endurance over swimming, cycling, and running. The decathlon in the Olympics tests athletes over mostly strength events of track and field.

The current decathlon of the Olympics has sometimes been called a good overall test to find the greatest athlete, but it focuses too much on track and field events, especially field events and short sprints. The Ironman Triathlon of long distance swimming, cycling, and running only tests endurance and no strength or other sport skills. The modern pentathlon is a good improvement, but it is also out-dated now with events such as equestrian and fencing. No soldier today uses those skills and it is not a good test of overall sports performance.

This new multi-sport competition of the Greatest Athlete Triathlon truly tests overall sport and fitness skills of both upper and lower body and of both physical and mental sport qualities.

The 3 sports of the Greatest Athlete Triathlon

  • 1. Weightlifting (the ultimate strength skills test, especially of the upper body)
  • 2. Stairclimbing (up a skyscraper, testing lower body / leg strength and endurance and speed, similar to sprint, middle and long distance running skills)
  • 3. Chess (testing concentration, intelligence, analyzing, decision making skills)

The above 3 events test overall physical and mental fitness so that the champion of this contest can be considered the best overall athlete. The weightlifting event tests physical strength, the stairclimbing event tests sprint, middle-distance and endurance skills, and the chess event test mental fitness. In other combined contests there is typically only a test of endurance (such as the Ironman triathlon) or of strength events (decathlon), but in this Greatest Athlete Triathlon, the winner would truly be the greatest overall athlete, taking into account strength, endurance, and even mental fitness.


Weightlifting – clean-and-jerk lifting (floor to above the head) or bench press (athlete’s choice). Points are determined as follows:

Weight in kg (or lbs.) lifted divided by athlete’s body weight times 500

(A champion weightlifter who lifts nearly 3 times his body weight would score close to 1500 points.) A world-class Greatest Athlete Triathlete would probably score about 1000 points on this and the other events.

Stairclimbing – Approximately 1500 steps up a skyscraper (different venues may have a few hundred stairs plus or minus from this figure). Points are determined as follows:

Course record time divided by athlete’s time, times 1200

Chess – 5 games of D-Chess against a chess computer at ‘intermediate level’ (approx. 1500 elo rating) and 25 minutes per game time control; where the pieces in the back rows are displaced so that an athlete cannot memorize opening moves or common moves of the computer program. Points are determined as follows:

Number of wins (draws count as half) times 300

Another great advantage to this Greatest Athlete Triathlon is that all events have specific scores and times that can be compared across competitions, allowing for World Records to be set. This is because the events are not pitted with one athlete against another as in fencing or other sports which cannot be compared across different years or competitions when the athletes change.

The chess event is against a computer program not against other athletes, so there is a set score or performance there that can be measured. And even the stairclimbing event which might use a different building can still be compared against a performance at a different venue since the points are based on how well the athlete does compared to the course record.

Optional Part 2 format

To make the competition more interesting with a more exciting finish, an optional part 2 format:

  • The top 8 athletes determined by total points in the 3 events move on to the final round
  • The athletes race up a shorter high rise building of less than 1,000 steps and use the same format as above for determining points (around 1,000 points for most top athletes)
  • The athletes do a second weight lifting event of lifting their body weight in the bench press the maximum number of times until fatigue. Points are number of repetitions times 10 (100 reps = 1,000 points)
  • The top 2 athletes determined by the total points in the Part 2 phase (stairclimbing and weightlifting) play one game of D-Chess against each other to determine who gets the gold (first place). Loser of this game earns the silver medal.
  • The number 3 and number 4 athletes with the most points in Part 2 play one game of D-Chess to determine who gets the bronze (third place).
  • If there is a draw in any of the D-Chess medal games, another game is played and continues with more games until someone wins.

See also