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Manuel Huerta speaking with the media Friday in London. (USA Triathlon)

Olympic Pre-Race Quotes: Manuel Huerta and Gwen Jorgensen

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U.S. Olympic Triathlon Team members Manuel Huerta (Miami, Fla.) and Gwen Jorgensen (Milwaukee, Wis.) met with the media at the Olympic Games Main Press Center on Friday.

Manuel Huerta:

On clinching an Olympic berth at the May 12 ITU World Triathlon San Diego:
“My goal was to prepare to be the top American. I was shooting for that and I tried to do everything possible to get into that position. I actually was the top American until there was like a mile to go when Hunter (Kemper) went by me.

Going into that race I wasn’t one of the favorites, but in my head I knew that I could do it. As an athlete you try to stay positive. In this sport you have to be very good, but sometimes you need a little bit of luck for everything to click. On that day everything clicked. My fitness was good, and I had the race of my life and I got the spot there.”

On the London course:
“I like it. I’ve been to Europe a couple of times, and usually it’s a bit on the colder side and it could rain. Last year, we had both. You prepare for every condition possible. I’m ready if it’s raining; I’m ready if it’s sunny; I’m ready if it’s cold, if it’s hot. I just do the best I can on the day.”

On what he learned between the 2011 and 2012 seasons:
“I think I learned a lot from 2011. I was very competitive in pretty much all the races I went to so even though I wasn’t doing as good as I wanted to I picked only the positives from each race. I was able to put it all together in 2012.”

On training on the Irazu Volcano in Costa Rica:
“I can focus there; I can rest there better. The other aspect of it is that by living at high altitude your blood chemistry gets better; it increases the red blood cells. It’s awesome living on a volcano.”

On seeing members of the Cuban Olympic Team:
“I’m just happy that under one roof like the Olympic Village we are all together, and we’re able to compete. I’m sure they’ll do their best for Cuba, and I know that I will do my best for the U.S.”

On fellow Cuban-born U.S. Olympian, gymnast Danell Leyva:
“I know Danell and I know his dad, Yin. They used to have training sessions at the Olympic Training Center where I used to live. I saw him yesterday; I said ‘hi’ to both Yin and Danell. I am very happy that from the Miami community we both made the team.”  

Photo by: Paul Phillips/Competitive Image
Gwen Jorgensen chats with the media Friday in London.
Gwen Jorgensen:
On what she is looking forward to at the Opening Ceremony:

“Everything. I just don’t even know what to expect. It’s going to be a wonderful event, and I can’t wait to see what they put on.”

On what has been the best part of the Olympic experience so far:
“There are little things, just like getting an Olympic lane on the road when you are being driven somewhere. All the little things they do shock you almost. It’s really exciting, and they’ve done everything they can to make this a wonderful event for us. It’s really awesome.”

On the Olympic Village:
“I love it. They have everything you need; Everything you think of and then 20,000 things extra you would have never thought of.”

On what other athletes she has met:
“Everyone that I meet I feel is someone honorable and great to me. Going to the pool I met a couple of swimmers there. Right now I’m in the dorm with some boxers. Just meeting everyone is really exciting. I met a 16-year-old table tennis player. It’s fun to see the different types of athletes and ages and things like that.”

On whether or not her success in London last year translates to this year:
“Every race is completely different. You have different people out there. I know that this race is going to be hard, and it’s going to go from the beginning and I just have to be prepared to hurt a lot.”

On training in all three disciplines:
“I don’t really have a favorite one. I just try to train them all so that I am maximizing my strengths and working out my weaknesses as well.”

On the course in London:
“I love it. It’s beautiful and you can’t really see it while we’re riding it, but for spectators it’s really beautiful to see. They did it great last year and everything went perfectly so I think it’s going to be really good this year.”

On the possibility of other nations using team tactics in the race:
“When it comes down to it, it’s just going to be about who is ready on August 4. It’s going to be a tough race no matter what, and we’re all prepared for that.”

On whether or not she thought the Olympics were possible when she started in triathlon:
“When I got recruited into triathlon, they told me the Olympics were in the picture and that I could definitely do it. My coach always believed in me. I don’t think I fully believed that 2012 was realistic. After I qualified, I was like, ‘What? Really?’ It didn’t really sink in. I think it actually sunk in once I got to the Olympic village. I was like, ‘Wow. I’m really here.’”

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