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Olympic Team members Laura Bennett, Hunter Kemper and Julie Ertel at Beijing Normal University
Olympic Team members Laura Bennett, Hunter Kemper and Julie Ertel at Beijing Normal University
photo: USAT Communications

Triathletes Stop in Beijing before Heading for Week of Training in Korea

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It was a short but sweet visit to Beijing for the U.S. Olympic Triathlon Team on Friday, August 8.

The team arrived on Thursday, took part in a Friday morning workout at Beijing Normal University before marching in the Opening Ceremonies in the evening. By Saturday morning, the athletes were on their way to Cheju, Korea for a week of training before they return to Beijing on August 15 for their competitions.

The women race on Monday, August 18, with the men toeing the line on Tuesday, August 19. Both races are scheduled for 10 a.m. local time.

During their Friday morning workout, the athletes were able to get their blood flowing and work out the kinks after a long flight from the U.S. the night before, and took a few moments to talk with media watching the practice.

Following are excerpts from interviews with the athletes on Friday:

*Note: Sarah Haskins (St. Louis, Mo. / Colorado Springs, Colo.) is meeting the team in Korea.

Hunter Kemper (Longwood, Fla. / Colorado Springs, Colo.)

On Training Goals Leading up to the Race...

The main thing for me is get some time in, get some yardage in the pool, some quick stuff. But nothing too strenuous. Maintaining some fitness.

There's not a whole lot of training you can do from here on in. It's more sharpening up, freshening up. For me I'm just trying to enjoy the moment, enjoying Opening Ceremonies tonight and the whole process while I am here in China. It's exciting to be here in Beijing and get the whole Games process started. I'm excited about the race on the 19th.

On Goals for the Race...

I'm not really having any goals for medals. I just want to get the best I can out of myself and let the rest take care of itself. I'm excited. I just want to be relaxed and have a good time and really enjoy myself.

Laura Bennett (N. Palm Beach, Fla. / Boulder, Colo.)

On the Olympic Process and Experience...

It's been quite a whirlwind lately. It's finally here. It's pretty exciting, seeing all the athletes, and just the hype around it. The Village is beautiful. It's been fun so far. We've been pretty tired, so you try to take it all in. It's been great.

On What's Next with Training...

Basically resting from here. In Cheju, just find a little bit of a routine for a few sessions. The objective of finding a bit of a rhythm and getting any cobwebs out from travel.

I'm right on track with my training and am really looking forward to racing.

On What She's Doing after the Race...

Afterwards the family is coming over and we'll be doing a little bit of the tourist stuff.

Jarrod Shoemaker (Sudbury, Mass. / Maynard, Mass.)

On the Overall Experience...

I'm excited. It was so much fun coming in yesterday and being on the plane and hearing "Go USA" after every announcement. It's a dream come true.

On His Training Goals...

I'm just trying to flush out everything right now; get in a good run and swim today and trying to feel good. Then get a good week of solid training and tapering in and then it's back up here.

On the Opening Ceremonies Experience...

I'm excited to racing representing the USA. It was fun to march in as part of Team USA.

Matt Reed (Boulder, Colo.)

On the Olympic Experience...

It's pretty amazing. I didn't really know what the Olympics were all about, with processing and going to the athlete village. It's all sinking in now that I'm here and it's huge to see some people you only see on TV. I saw Venus and Serena Williams and some of the other athletes. I'm just kind of blown away by being around them, now realizing what I have to go and do. It's a pretty incredible feeling. I'm just happy to be here.

On His Goals for Training...

My goal for next week is to try to recover from all the training that I've been doing and keep some good feeling there. Training has been going well. I couldn't have asked for a better lead up. Keep the speed and try to be really fresh going into the race.

On the Opening Ceremonies Experience...

It was an absolutely amazing experience. A reward for all the years of sacrifice and hard work.  It makes me proud to represent USA and motivates me to win a medal in front of billions of people.

Julie Ertel (Irvine, Calif. / Placentia, Calif.)

On Her Training Goals...

The week away will be the official taper week, but really just getting some quality sessions, focus on longer sessions where my lungs will be taxed a little more.

On the Olympic Experience...

The processing was very frantic. Today it's sinking in a bit more. I can't wait to walk around the Village.

On Her Water Polo Experience (2000 Olympic silver medalist)...

The water polo team has two games after I'm done competing. It's very comforting to see them here. We walked into the pool together from the lockerroom this morning. I almost headed over to the water polo goals before I remembered I needed the lane lines.

 

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