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Olympic Guide: What to Watch For
Fifty-five of the best triathletes per gender will dive into The Serpentine for a 1,500-meter swim, transition to a seven-lap 43k bike course that passes Buckingham Palace, then finish with a four-lap 10k run course, finishing at Hyde Park. The women compete Aug. 4 and the men Aug. 7.
Both Olympic Games triathlon competitions are scheduled to air live on NBC Sports Network — the women Aug. 4 at 4 a.m. Eastern, followed by the men Aug. 7 at 6:30 a.m. Eastern. Be sure to visit NBColympics.com for the latest broadcast schedule, as it is subject to change. In addition to your daily fix of Bob Costas on primetime TV, NBColympics.com will stream every event live. That’s over 3,500 hours of live streaming in all 32 sports. You can also watch wherever you want by streaming live content to your phone or tablet.
Tickets are not required for around 90 percent of the triathlon course, so spectators will be able to watch the event for free inside and outside Hyde Park.
If you’re looking for a sentimental favorite other than the Americans to cheer for, consider Germany's Anne Haug; her performance at the World Triathlon Series race in Madrid, where she qualified for the team, was nothing short of courageous. She missed the first bike pack out of the swim, and knowing that she had to finish in the top 12 to qualify for the team, she did all the work on the bike to bridge up. This was a big risk, given Madrid’s notoriously brutal bike course could have sapped her legs of the energy required to run her way into the top 12. She ultimately finished fourth, fading from the leaders only in the final 400 meters of the 10k. Her performance later prompted reigning Olympic champion Jan Frodeno to tweet, “Anne Haug showed how it’s done yesterday — no matter what, at the end you can say you gave it all.” — Courtney Baird
“It’s everything. The Olympics — it wasn’t these two hours, it wasn’t [training] the last four years, it’s been all my life.” — MANUEL HUERTA after qualifying for the Games in San Diego (SI.com)
“I put a lot of pressure on this day, last year in London I just had a terrible day for some reason, I’m still just not quite sure what happened. In the end I think it was a blessing in disguise.” — LAURA BENNETT after qualifying in San Diego
“No. That doesn’t interest me.” — What GWEN JORGENSEN initially told USA Triathlon when asked to join the Collegiate Recruitment Program. (Los Angeles Times)
“In 2008 I wasn’t ready to go to the Olympics I think. But I was definitely ready this time around. ... The past three years have been really tough. I’ve been through a lot of ups and downs. It’s been a long road and I am really pleased to be back.” — SARAH GROFF after qualifying for the Olympics in 2011 (slowtwitch.com)“It means a lot of hard work [to be a four-time Olympian]. A lot of dedication and a lot of faith. It’s a special thing. … It’s a special club and I am glad to be a part of it.” — HUNTER KEMPER
What Others are Saying About the U.S. Triathlon Team
Huerta’s journey to becoming an Olympic athlete is just your usual tale of a Castro-fleeing Cuban immigrant honing his skills on the side of an active volcano in Costa Rica. — David Minsky, Miami New Times
When Kemper lined up for the final U.S. Men’s Olympic Qualification event in San Diego, he had not raced in seven months. No one outside his family and coach Cliff English knew if he still had enough to beat a rising contingent of talented American men like Jarrod Shoemaker, Matt Chrabot, Manuel Huerta and Greg Billington. — Timothy Carlson, Slowtwitch
“Gwen’s got great natural speed. And she’s a fighter. She loves to compete.” — Jim Stintzi, Wisconsin women’s track coach (Los Angeles Times)
Here’s what Hunter Kemper’s triathlon training consisted of back in January: lying in bed, hooked up to an IV drip for 90 minutes twice a day. — Don Norcross, San Diego Union-Tribune
Gwen Jorgensen is making triathlon look easy. Less than 18 months after finishing her first triathlon, the former swimmer and All-American runner at Wisconsin qualified for the London Olympics. — Nancy Armour, AP[Sarah] Groff was a different story. The 30-year-old had made a surprisingly close run at the 2008 US Olympic team and since then had gotten her act together with the help of coach Darren Smith and had many top-10 WCS finishes culminating with a confidence-inspiring, landmark, third-place podium finish at Kitzbuhel in June. Nothing remarkable there — except for the fact that she suffered a second fracture of her sacrum in November 2010 and in December and January she could neither run nor bike and could only walk with extreme pain. — Timothy Carlson, Slowtwitch
TYR designed the Olympic triathlon uniform, which is made with Carbon Technology and optimizes the function of the athlete’s body by lowering body temperature, promoting more efficient breathing, slowing the heart rate and reducing lactic acid concentrations.
NCAA to Olympics
All five U.S. Olympians were college athletes: Hunter Kemper (Wake Forest) and Manuel Huerta (Florida Atlantic) were runners and Laura Bennett (Southern Methodist) and Sarah Groff (Middlebury) were swimmers. Gwen Jorgensen (Wisconsin) swam and ran in college.
Did you Know?
There’s no such thing as a former Olympian. Athletes who have competed at the Olympic Games are always referred to as Olympians, even when their competition days are long past.
Lukas Verzbicas, one of the top high school runners of all time, 2011 ITU Junior World Champion
Greg Billington, 2011 U23 World Championships, fourth place; 2012 ITU World Triathlon San Diego, 15th place
Kevin McDowell, 2010 Youth Olympic Games bronze medalist; 2010 ITU Junior World Championship bronze medalist
Kelly Whitley, 2011 ITU Junior Worlds, fifth place; 2010 Youth Olympic Games bronze medalist
Kaitlin Shiver, 2011 U23 World Championship, fourth place; 2011 U23 and Collegiate Nationals champion
Marissa Ferrante, 2012 Collegiate Nationals champion
Paratriathlon Makes its Debut in 2016
Paratriathlon will make its debut at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. To learn more about paratriathlon, visit www.usatriathlon.org/paratriathlon.
The Big Picture
The U.S. has won the overall medal count at the past four Olympic Summer Games, including 110 medals in Beijing. … The London Olympic Games feature 302 medal events. … There are 30 venues around the U.K. that will host Olympic events. … An estimated 203 countries are sending more than 10,000 athletes to compete in London. … Another 8,000 people will have helped to deliver the Olympic flame to the Olympic Stadium for the Opening Ceremony through the Olympic torch relay.