Memorable Quotes of 2011
Compiled by John Martin
“I had him in my mind the whole time in this race and I knew I was doing it for him. It just drove me and motivated me a whole lot more than if I was just doing this race by myself and just for myself — it’s really helped me a lot. I did what I set out to do, and it’s an amazing feeling.”
– Lukas Verzbicas after winning the 2011 ITU Junior World Championships title in Beijing, China, to honor friend and teammate Kevin McDowell, who was a favorite to win the title before being diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma in March.
“You just go out there every day and you learn from each race. The USA athletes and coaches have been helping me and teaching me the ropes. I’m just taking what I learn.”
– the always-humble Gwen Jorgensen after clinching a spot on the 2012 U.S. Olympic roster with a runner-up finish at the 2011 London World Championship Series event. Jorgensen punched her ticket to London less than two years after her first competitive triathlon.
“I wasn’t ready to go (to the Olympics) in 2008, I don’t think, but I was definitely ready this time around. The past three years have been really tough, lots of ups and downs, so it’s been a long road, and I’m really, really pleased to be there.”
– Sarah Groff after earning her spot on the starting line at the 2012 London Games with a seventh-place finish at the 2011 London WCS event. Groff, who has dealt with injuries for much of the past few seasons, went on to earn third place in the overall standings for the 2011 ITU World Championship Series to mark the best-ever finish for an American.
“I felt like the whole time throughout the bike I had two F-16s right next to me protecting me and covering every attack of the any of the contenders.”
“It feels good to have seven. It’s kind of special — the fact that I’ve overcome a lot and gotten through a lot in the past couple years.”
– Manuel Huerta after earning the silver medal at the 2011 Pan American Games in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. The U.S. successfully employed team tactics to reach the podium in the men’s and women’s races. Matt Chrabot and Mark Fretta helped control the pace of the bike to allow Huerta to run his way to silver.
“Ever since I was young, I’d always dreamed about going off to college and actually going for triathlon. We talked about it when I was younger and said maybe one day it could be a possibility. Now it’s actually coming true; it’s a reality. It couldn’t be a better situation out here with the school, our training and our coaching.”
– Hunter Kemper after winning a men’s record seventh career USA Triathlon Elite National Championship in Buffalo, N.Y. The national title was Kemper’s first since 2006. Kemper, who has battled a myriad of injuries over the past couple of years, returned to top form in 2011.
– Kevin McDowell following the June 2011 launch of the Colorado Springs-based Elite Triathlon Academy, which allows the nation’s top up-and-coming triathletes to train with a full-time time coach and utilize the U.S. Olympic Training Center while attending the University of Colorado Colorado Springs.
“I believe this is the most competitive amateur short-course race in the world, so that’s why I come — for the competition. Whether you’re in the hunt for a medal or not, it’s still just as much fun to represent Team USA.”
– age-grouper Mark Harms after winning the men’s 35-39 Olympic-distance world title in Beijing, China. Harms is a three-time ITU World Championship medalist.
“I enjoy racing so much, and it’s nice to have an opportunity to race when there’s not any pressure on me.”
– Susan Williams, mother of three and Athens Olympic bronze medalist, after clinching the overall title at the 2011 USA Triathlon Age Group National Championship in Burlington, Vt. Williams returned to top-level amateur racing in 2011.
“I’ve been training for this race for four years … Every year I’m thinking about Collegiate Nationals, and I put so much into it this year. This is the most emotional race I’ve ever done. … I’ve never gone this hard in a race.”
– the University of Colorado’s Rudy Kahsar after winning the men’s title at the 2011 USA Triathlon Collegiate National Championship in Tuscaloosa, Ala. 2011 was a banner year for Kahsar, who also won the overall title at 2011 Age Group Nationals.
“It’s inspiring to be able to compete and have success in big national events. It just makes me more and more hungry. I want to prove it on the national stage — USA Triathlon puts on a great event — and I want to go and do the same thing at the world event.”
– age-grouper Dave Slavinksi after winning the overall title at the 2011 Duathlon National Championship in Oro Valley, Ariz. Slavinski also was victorious at the 2011 Long Course Duathlon National Championship.
Gwen Jorgensen, London WCS, Competitive Image
Manuel Huerta, Pan American Games, Rich Cruse/ITU
Rudy Kahsar, USA Triathlon Collegiate National Championship, Mario Cantu/USA Triathlon