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photo: Competitive Image
Olympic Blog: Hunter Kemper
Hunter Kemper is one of just three four-time Olympic triathletes and has been the top U.S. men’s finisher in each edition of the Olympic triathlon. Throughout the course of the Olympic Games, you'll hear from the staff and athletes of the U.S. Olympic Triathlon Team here at usatriathlon.org.
GUILDFORD — I came to the Opening Ceremony because I wanted to experience it all again. I think it’s important to get here early anyways, coming down from altitude, and the travel worked out well. For me, I think going to the Opening Ceremony helps me get in the mood and embrace the whole Olympic feel.
I’ve talked to our first-time athletes about enjoying the journey and the process and taking it all in. I think they are doing a great job of that. What I mean by that is going to things like the press conference they had the other day, doing things that are asked of them and taking it all in. Try to enjoy the journey along the way. Each day the competition gets closer and closer. If you get so focused on your race, and you’re here early, then you can get stressed out.
For example, I was requested to do the “Today Show” earlier this week — I’m totally going to do that. If I can fit that in, then I’m going to fit that in. Doing interviews like that is a way we can get our sport out there and talked about on a national stage. The more people that learn about triathlon, the more it can help the sport grow and I’m all about that. I think us as athletes want to do well, not only for ourselves, but we have a platform here to showcase our sport. If we do really well, and win medals, it’s only going to elevate the sport tremendously. I would love to be a part of that.
I think it’s easier to balance enjoying the Games experience and preparing for my race because my race is a little bit further away because I’m on the 11th day. It might be a little more difficult if I was on the fifth or the seventh or eighth day like the women. I won’t see a lot of events beforehand. I’d love to go to one, but I’d have to go to a venue closer to Guildford. It would be a full day for me, and I’m not committed to spending a full day on my feet.
I’d love to see swimming sometime this week — I saw one swimming event in Athens in 2004 — but it’s always been the week before our triathlon. But you can’t help but get the Olympic fever by watching the Games coverage on TV. I’ll just continue to do that and enjoy it when my wife Val gets here Wednesday.
After the race, it’s always a cram session. We’ll try to see as many events as possible in the four or five days after my event. As much as you can, you should try to enjoy it because you never know if it’s going to happen again. I’ve been blessed to go to four Olympics.