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Laura Bennett spoke with the media Thursday at Hyde Park.
photo: Competitive Image

Olympic Pre-Race Quotes: Laura Bennett

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LONDON — U.S. Olympic Women’s Triathlon Team captain Laura Bennett (Boulder, Colo.) spoke with the media Thursday following the pre-race briefing at Hyde Park.

Bennett, Sarah Groff (Hanover, N.H.) and Gwen Jorgensen (Milwaukee, Wis.) will represent the U.S. in the 2012 Olympic Games women’s triathlon Saturday at 9 a.m. locally. The race will air live in the U.S. on NBC Sports Network at 4 a.m. Eastern.

On what she’s looking for in her second Olympic Games appearance:
“To be the mix and definitely to have a shot at a medal. I feel good coming in. I think the second time around is definitely a lot different than the first. I think the level of anxiety that you bring into your first Games, even if you don’t recognize it, it’s still there. Whereas, I think the second time around, it’s totally different. You can take advantage of what you want to take advantage of, but the first time around you feel you have to take advantage of everything. This time around I just get to focus on the race and try to have the best performance on the day.”

On her comfort level with the course:
“The course is fine. I think it’s the competition that’s going to make a difference. It’s not that challenging that of course to really break things up. It’s a fast course. I think the difference will be with the girls that are here and the fact that it’s an Olympic Games, it’s going to be flat out from the start.”

On whether or not this is a more wide-open race than Beijing:
“It’s a wider pool, I do believe that. They don’t give the medals out before the race, which is nice. I think it is wide open. I think last time Emma Snowsill and Vanessa Fernandes were clearly performing better and were kind of ahead of the curve and nothing was going to change on the day. There wasn’t all of a sudden going to be a swim pack, and everyone was going to attack the bike. Everyone just thought, ‘Okay we’re going to do a running race going into Beijing.’ And that’s what it was and that’s how it turned out. This race, I don’t believe that will be the case. It depends on if there is a pack away. There could be a big pack, there could still be attacks if there is a big pack. It’ll all be on the line because it is the Olympic Games, and there are so many players this time around.”

On whether or not Great Britain’s Helen Jenkins is facing pressure to perform on her home soil:
“Helen’s one of my best friends for sure, and I would never wish that upon her. I think there’s probably an underlying level of that, but she’s pretty cool headed, so it will be interesting. I think she’ll be fine.”

On what aspect of the race she’s looking forward to most:  
“Just the overall race. There’s no one particular thing because you don’t know how the race is going to unfold. I do love the level and the hype of what the Olympic Games provides. Just running out on the pontoon is pretty special in itself.”

On her preferred race-day weather conditions:
“I like perfect conditions. I wouldn’t mind it being on the hotter side of cool. I’ve been over in Boulder, and it’s been pretty warm and dry. Everybody else has been here in Europe and it’s been wet and cold.”

On whether or not this Olympic build-up was similar to Beijing or different:
“That underlying pressure that I mentioned or that underlying stress of wanting to maximize because you don’t know if you’re coming back adds a level of intensity that I don’t think you even realize. Now, having made it a second time, I can look back and say, ‘If I had this calm head, I could have done this and this and this and had a better experience in Beijing and that sort of thing.’ There are little hiccups that I had this year, but I could get on top of them straight away because I had a more calm head.”

On if she feels in good form coming into the race:
“I’m coming in uninjured — that’s a good start having done a prep the way I would have wanted to do. That’s really it. I’m pretty calm and looking forward to racing no matter the conditions. I’m pretty excited.”

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