Which Country has the World's Fastest Ironman Triathletes?

Which countries have the fastest triathletes? It's an often debated question, particularly when it comes to comparing one ironman race to another. Are the athletes in Europe faster than those in the US? Australia faster than Canada?

Taking results of the world's best triathletes -- their finishing times from the 2011 Ironman Triathlon World Championship -- we compared each country's top finisher across all age groups. Among the men, the countries with the fastest finishers were USA, Germany and Australia. Among the women, USA, Germany and Canada took fastest honors.

Here are the rankings, followed by comparisons of top finishers's times by country for several of the largest age groups competing in Kona 2011.

For this and all other charts below, each bar represents the finish time of the fastest athlete representing that country. In this example of the M50-54 age group, Australia's fastest finisher's time was 9:42, while Brazil's fastest finisher crossed the line with a time of 11:45.