Gwen Jorgensen today became the first American triathlete to win gold at an Olympic Games. After a flat tyre at London 2012 led to a 38th-place finish, Gwen had clocked up a record 12 out of 12 wins on the ITU circuit, with the 2014 and 2015 ITU World Championship titles both heading to the 30-year-old’s trophy cabinet. And now the Rio Olympic title is hers.
After the race in Rio, Gwen talked about her epic duel with Nicola Spirig in Rio, what was said between the two on the run, and the support of the Wollongong Wizards…
ON WHAT WAS SAID TO SPIRIG
Me and Nicola were playing a few games and not wanting to take the lead into the headwind. On the run, we were talking about ‘you take a turn, I’ve taken a turn.’ She said to me that she’s already got an Olympic gold medal, which is fair enough as she now has two and I only have one!
ON BECOMING A TRIATHLETE
[USAT Recruitment Program Coordinator] Barbara Lindquist came to me and said I could be an Olympian. I didn’t believe that as my passion was swimming and I wanted to go to the Olympics with that. It was a shock to me qualifying for London 2012, but I’ve had a lot of support by a lot of people throughout.
ON THE WOLLONGONG WIZARDS
Jamie Turner and my husband Pat have invested so much in me, more than anyone can ever know. I’m the grandma and Pat’s the granddad at the Wollongong Wizards team, I’m 30 and the rest of the squad make me feel young. I’ve learnt a lot from them and hopefully have taught them things too. Jamie I feel is the best triathlon coach in the world.
ON HER FOUR-YEAR GOAL
This, the Olympic Games triathlon on 20 August 2016, has been my goal for four years. To have my family, Pat and Jamie here means so much. I wish I could’ve had Pat and Jamie on the podium with me. At London I had a flat tyre and I sat down after the race and said that I wanted to come back to Rio to win gold.
ON RACING SPIRIG
You can never underestimate an Olympic gold medallist. I didn’t think about not having raced her since 2012, we were probably both learning about each other during the race.
ON THE RIO EXPERIENCE
The Rio course was wonderful, the fans were amazing and lining the whole course. The water quality was fine and it passed the checks that are conducted before the race, so we were given the all-clear.