Traveling? 12 International Triathlon Terms You Need to Know

In which we elucidate multisport terms that might boggle Google Translate.

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In the United States, saying you bonked during a race is universally interpreted as a massive depletion of energy. But say that at a race elsewhere, and you’ll get some funny looks. That’s because the word “bonk” is used in an entirely different way overseas — and it’s quite dirty. Europeans and Australians would wonder, “Why would you do the mattress mambo at mile 20 of an Ironman?” But fear not, with our handy glossary of international triathlon terms you’ll soon be able to understand our British and Aussie friends on and off the race course.

International Triathlon Terms

Arvo (arr-vow)

Afternoon. “I’ve got a short run in the arvo. Want to join me?”
Misunderstanding Danger Factor: Low

Cossie (cos-sie)

Swimsuit. Also known as bathers, swimmers, and togs. “Why don’t you wear your yellow cossie to the practice swim? It will make it easier to spot you in the water.”
Misunderstanding Danger Factor: Medium

Budgy smuggler (bud-gee smug-ler)

Men’s tight-fitting swimsuit cut like underwear briefs (sometimes known as a “Speedo”). “I can’t believe he did the whole Ironman in a budgy smuggler! Wouldn’t that chafe?”
Misunderstanding Danger Factor: High

Flippers (fli-pr)

Swimming fins. “Are we going to do this set with flippers?”
Misunderstanding Danger Factor: Low

Tumbleturn (tem-bel-tern)

Flip turns in the pool. “Why don’t you do tumbleturns? Your splits would be so much faster!”
Misunderstanding Danger Factor: Low

Trainers (tray-nuhs)

Running shoes. “I haven’t had the chance to break in these trainers. I hope they don’t give me blisters.”
Misunderstanding Danger Factor: Low

Crisps (krisps)

Potato chips. “I grabbed a handful of crisps at the last aid station, and I think the salt really helped.”
Misunderstanding Danger Factor: Low

Biscuits (bis-kits)

Cookies. “The aid stations on the run course will be stocked with plenty of food, including crisps and biscuits.”
Misunderstanding Danger Factor: Low

Knackered (na-curd)

Extremely tired. “I’m knackered, mate. I don’t think I’ll make it to the team dinner tonight.”
Misunderstanding Danger Factor: Medium

Niggle (ni-gl)

Injury. “I’ve been dealing with this niggle in my leg for the past three weeks.”
Misunderstanding Danger Factor: Maximum

Physio (fi-zee-ow)

Physical therapist. “This niggle won’t go away. I think I’ll have the physio take a look at it.
Misunderstanding Danger Factor: Low

Chuffed (cheffed)

Extremely pleased. “I’m chuffed to have won.”
Misunderstanding Danger Factor: Medium

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