Marisol Casado has appeared to back a switch to sprint triathlon at the Olympics ©Getty Images

The President of the International Triathlon Union (ITU) has suggested that future Olympic races could be contested over half the distance.

Marisol Casado, also a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), said that a "sprint" format could be adopted in the future in an interview with The Times.

At present, Olympic races consist of a 1.5 kilometre swim, a 40km cycle and a 10km run.

But in an audio recording of his interview with Casado released by The Times journalist Tim Heming, the Spaniard said that switching to shorter races was at the moment her "personal view".

"I think it is logical because it is very attractive to TV and this is something very important to maintain the sport in the Olympic Games," she said.

"It is something very important for the whole organisation to discuss."

Responding to a tweet from Heming on the audio recording, Casado added: "Thanks for publishing this. 

Alistair Brownlee said to lose the
Alistair Brownlee said to lose the "toughness" of triathlon would be a "shame" ©Getty Images

"Happy for people to hear this is my personal opinion on a possible scenario."

The introduction of semi-finals is another possibility while it is thought the move could make the introduction of mixed relay to the Olympic programme, an often stated goal of the ITU, more likely.

"The IOC admitted five new sports for 2020 with I don’t know how many more hundred athletes," Casado said to The Times

"So it will be very difficult not let us do another event with the same athletes." 

Any move to a shorter format would likely be met with resistance, with Britain's back-to-back men's Olympic champion Alistair Brownlee telling The Times: "It’s [sprint triathlon] quicker and more dynamic from a spectator point of view, but I’ve lost count of the number of people who have come up to me and said it’s the toughness of the event that appeals.

"It'd be a real shame to lose that."

Casado looks set to be re-elected unopposed as the President of the ITU after she was confirmed as the only candidate for the December 11 election last month.

A ballot will be held at the ITU's annual congress in Madrid, the same city where the 60-year-old was initially elected in 2008.