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L-R: Gwen Jorgensen, Laura Bennett and Sarah Groff

Talented American Trio Set for Olympic Games Women’s Triathlon Saturday

U.S. team features three of the world’s best Olympic-distance triathletes

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LONDON — With its U.S. Olympic Triathlon Team of Laura Bennett, Sarah Groff and Gwen Jorgensen, USA Triathlon is poised to field one of its deepest and most talented Olympic Games rosters at Saturday’s London 2012 women’s triathlon. Action at Hyde Park begins at 9 a.m. locally.

NBC Sports Network will air the race live beginning at 4 a.m. Eastern with Steve Schlanger and Beijing Olympic triathlete Julie Swail on the call. The race will also stream online at NBCOlympics.com.

Each competitor will complete a 1,500-meter swim in The Serpentine, a 43-kilometer bike leg past a number of London landmarks, including Buckingham Palace, and a 10-kilometer run around Hyde Park. The draft-legal bike features seven laps of 6.1k course, while the run is comprised four laps of a 2.5k course. Visit triathlon.org for a complete preview and the start list.

With Bennett (Boulder, Colo.), Groff (Hanover, N.H.) and Jorgensen (Milwaukee, Wis.) on its roster, the U.S. is one of only eight nations with the maximum number of three women’s competitors in London. All three finished in the top 11 of the 2011 International Triathlon Union (ITU) World Triathlon Series rankings. The U.S. was the only country with three women ranked among the world’s top 11 at the conclusion of last season.

After placing fourth at the Beijing Games, Bennett, 37, has been the most consistent U.S. performer on the ITU World Triathlon Series circuit over the past three with nine top-eight finishes from 2010-12. She finished 2011 ranked eighth in the ITU World Triathlon Series rankings and captured her third USA Triathlon Elite National Championship title. Bennett qualified for her second Olympic Team with a third-place finish at the 2012 ITU World Triathlon San Diego on May 11. Since earning a spot on the London roster, Bennett went unbeaten in three domestic starts, including victories at the Dallas ITU Pan American Cup on June 2 and the Boulder Peak Triathlon on July 8.

“Those two races were part of the training plan to gain a bit of fitness for the Games,” Bennett said. “I was very fortunate to have a bit of cold weather in Boulder to have a dry run on the specifics here in London. I have had a strong, controlled prep for London and feel I am in a good place to have a strong race.”  

Groff, 30, placed seventh at the 2011 London ITU World Triathlon Series event to clinch a spot on the 2012 U.S. Olympic Triathlon Team. She went on to finish third in the ITU WTS rankings for the first-ever series podium finish by an American. Groff led the U.S. with five top-10 finishes on the WTS circuit in 2011. She was seventh June 23 at the ITU World Triathlon Kitzbühel for her first top-10 showing in 2012 and followed that performance with a third-place effort July 22 at the sprint-distance Dextro Energy World Triathlon Hamburg in her final tune-up for London.

"A strong result in Hamburg was confirmation that my Olympic preparation was on track and that I will be ready for a good race in London," Groff said.

The 26-year-old Jorgensen burst onto the triathlon scene in 2011 with a runner-up finish at the London ITU World Triathlon Series event to earn a spot on the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team. Her second-place finish on the Olympic course in London is the best-ever showing for a U.S. woman in a WTS event. Jorgensen finished 2011 ranked 11th in the ITU World Triathlon Series rankings and picked up where she left off in 2012 with a fourth-place finish at the Dextro Energy Triathlon Sydney. Jorgensen owns top-eight finishes in 21 of 26 career ITU events and has finished on the podium on nine occasions. She was second and posted the fastest run split at the 2012 Life Time Fitness Triathlon on July 14 in her final race prior to London 2012.

“All the money is in the bank, as they would say, right now,” Jorgensen said. “I’m just keeping the feel of everything. My coach Cindi Bannink has definitely gotten me to where we’re prepared for race day, and I’m really excited to give it my all.”

Following Saturday’s women’s race, U.S. men Manuel Huerta (Miami, Fla.) and Hunter Kemper (Colorado Springs, Colo.) will compete in Hyde Park on Tuesday, Aug. 7 in the 2012 Olympic Games men’s triathlon at 11:30 a.m. locally. The race will air at 6:30 a.m. Eastern on NBC Sports Network.

Visit usatriathlon.org/london2012 for more information on the 2012 U.S. Olympic Triathlon Team.

About USA Triathlon
Founded in 1982, USA Triathlon is proud to serve as the National Governing Body for triathlon – one of the fastest growing sports in the world – as well as duathlon, aquathlon, aquabike, winter triathlon and paratriathlon in the United States. USA Triathlon sanctions 4,000 races and connects with more than 150,000 members each year, making it the largest multisport organization in the world. In addition to its work with athletes, coaches, and race directors on the grassroots level, USA Triathlon provides leadership and support to elite athletes competing at international events, including ITU World Championships, Pan American Games and the Summer Olympic Games. USA Triathlon is a proud member of the International Triathlon Union and the United States Olympic Committee.

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