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photo: Competitive Image
Olympic Q&A: Gwen Jorgensen
LONDON — Third-year elite Gwen Jorgensen will make her Olympic Games debut Saturday nearly a year to the day since she shocked the triathlon world by running her way to a second-place finish and a spot of the U.S. Olympic Triathlon Team at the test event in Hyde Park. Since then, she’s established herself as one of the fastest runners in the sport and owns nine career podium finishes and two World Cup wins on the ITU circuit.
USA Triathlon recently caught up with the Wisconsin native in advance of race day.
USA Triathlon: Are you confident with how your training has gone? What are you doing in the final days before competition?
Gwen Jorgensen: All the money is in the bank, as they would say, right now. 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.
USAT: How would you describe your relationship with Cindi?
GJ: Cindi and I are very close. We share everything, and I think that’s important in the relationship so that she knows what’s going on — not only in my body physically but also mentally. If something’s stressing me out or if something’s getting me excited or I’m staying up late because I’m doing something fun she always knows what’s going on. That sort of stuff has been key in our relationship. She’s been a great friend and mentor and somebody that I will tell anything to and will go to if I have a problem — and not just because she’s my coach, but because I trust her. I know she’s there for me and I really respect her opinion. She’s someone that I look up to and someone that I really respect and believe that what she has to say is important.
USAT: How beneficial has it been to have team captains Laura Bennett and Hunter Kemper to help prepare you for the Games?
GJ: I love the mix of our team. We have some newbies, and we have Hunter and Laura, who have been here. It’s been awesome to have them and be able listen to them and have their support and take on things along the way. It’s really beneficial because I had no idea what to expect; I still don’t really know what to expect with what’s to come. They give their insights and help prepare us for race day.
USAT: What’s the benefit of having performed well on the London course a year ago?
GJ: I think it’s been really beneficial for everyone to be able to have raced the course a year in advance — to know what to expect for the race course, it’s flat and not really that technical. Having that year to prepare for everyone I think is really beneficial, and just to have that in the back of your mind has been good.
USAT: Any thoughts on having the same race number (No. 54) this year as you did last year in London when you qualified for the team?
GJ: I thought it was kind of funny. I didn’t really think twice about it; it’s just a funny coincidence, I’d say.