Topless or Not?

OK guys, ever wondered if you are allowed to race a triathlon shirtless or not?  As a woman I generally do not ponder these questions (even though I think there are some men who definitely should cover up and others I really would not mind seeing shirtless).  However, with two of my nephews visiting me from Germany this summer and doing I triathlon with me, I was wondering if we need to purchase tri tops for them.

So, at Lifetime Tri Minneapolis (a USAT sanctioned event), I asked an official.  Here is his answer in a nutshell:
USAT has no rules about having to cover the torso (for guys that is).
WTC (e.g. Ironman races) requires everybody to cover up. Hence Faris Al-Sultan’s mankini (see photo).
For all other races it is generally up to the race director.

I decided to look up the rules.  Here is what I found:

USA Triathlon

USAT Competitive Rules

Rule 3.4 Race Conduct prohibits Indecent Exposure:

  • n. Indecent Exposure. Public nudity at any time during the event is prohibited. Any violation of this Section shall result in a variable time penalty.

This is the only rule I could find related to uniforms other than wetsuits, skinsuits, and helmets.

International Triathlon Union

ITU Competition Rules

Just in case you are planning to race at World Championships 🙂

ITU has a whole section (section 2.7) and an appendix (Appendix F) on uniforms and the requirements are quite specific.  In short, front of the torso must be covered, back can be naked from waist up, midsection must be covered (i.e. no mankini!).  For more details check out the rule yourself.

World Triathlon Corporation

Ironman 2011 Athlete Information Guide

In general, WTC follows the USAT rules, but has some modifications.  They for example require that shirts are worn during the bike and run.  I did not find a shirt requirement for the swim.

I wonder …

… would this count as a shirt?

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