Gwen Jorgensen’s Big Gold Dream

By Susan Lacke,  RunningCompetitor.com

 

It was a modern-day Cinderella story: a tax accountant in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, turned Olympic gold medalist. Gwen Jorgensen was made for prime time, and Olympic commentators at the 2016 Rio Games breathlessly recounted how a random phone call changed the course of her life.

“Have you ever considered triathlon?” asked the voice on the other end. Barb Lindquist’s job was to identify single-sport athletes who showed Olympic potential in triathlon. Jorgensen, a former collegiate swimmer and runner at the University of Wisconsin, was at the top of her list.

At first, Jorgensen laughed. She firmly believed her athletic days were behind her after graduation. Though she won a handful of 3,000 and 5,000 meter races in her collegiate career, her times were hardly competitive in an Olympic context. Also, she didn’t know how to ride a bike—and wasn’t that a prerequisite for a sport that combined swim, bike and run?

Lindquist acknowledged that the odds were stacked against Jorgensen, but there was something there. “We think you’d be quite good at it,” said Lindquist. “Just give it a try.”

In Jorgensen’s first triathlon in 2010, she came in second place. By 2012, she had earned a spot at the London Olympics, where she placed 38th after a flat tire on the bike. She spent the next four years declaring her intent to win at the 2016 Games, no matter what. In a stark contrast to the London Games, she had a near-perfect race in Rio, outrunning defending champion Nicola Spirig of Switzerland.

In the span of only six years, Jorgensen rocketed to the top of the sport, with an unparalleled 17 World Triathlon Series victories, two world championship titles and the first U.S. athlete to win Olympic gold in triathlon. She was all but a lock for a medal in the 2020 Tokyo Games.

 

 

And then she shifted gears.

 

Complete original article here

Gwen Jorgensen Meets With Colorado Springs Triathletes

Gwen Jorgensen made a last minute appearance at 24Hr Fitness in Colorado Springs last weekend. Kris Kuckenbacker, a triathlete from Colorado Springs, describes his experience for us:

Gwen Jorgensen posing for a photo with triathletes while visiting Colorado SpringsI first found out that Gwen was going to be at the COS 24Hr Fitness Thursday morning (November 10th) from the local tri club social media page, just two days before the meet and greet was to occur. It was a very basic post and just said “Gwen Jorgensen will be at 24 Hour Fitness in Colorado Springs this Saturday,” that was it. I searched the comments and was further able to find out that it would be from 11:30-1:00. Oh Great!

That was the exact same 90 minute window I had a scheduled a massage for earlier in the week. Skeptical, I searched online to see if I could verify the information and came up empty. Regardless, I rescheduled the massage and decided to go to the gym the following day and see what the deal was myself. Sure enough, a large poster was on the entrance window with Gwen’s photo and pertinent details for the meet and greet. I was excited!

My girlfriend, and fellow triathlete, was down from Denver for the weekend and was just as excited as I was for such an amazing opportunity to meet the ITU legend and Olympic Gold Medalist. We took magazines, the recent USA Triathlon quarterly publication and the The magazine Gwen Jorgensen signed for Kris during her visit to Colorado SpringsAugust issue of Triathlete, both with Gwen’s picture gracing the covers for her to sign.

I’ve never met anyone and had them autograph their picture before, that added a little awkwardness while standing in line. We were surprised how few people were there, which was a good thing as neither of us are fans of large crowds.

The moment came and we walked up to Gwen. I got increasingly nervous as we approached and realized I wasn’t in any way prepared for a verbal encounter. I stayed a few steps behind my girlfriend, trying to hide behind her tiny frame, as she engaged in conversation with a very humble and genuine Gwen Jorgensen. They started with a little race and triathlon small talk which transitioned seamlessly and quickly into real life events and girl stuff as though they were long time friends.

When her attention turned to me, I shook her hand and introduced myself in which she replied “Hi, I’m Gwen.” All I could muster as a response was “Yes, yes you are”. I was literally speechless and embarrassed. We got our magazines signed pictures taken with Gwen, then headed to brunch. All we could talk about was how amazing it was to meet such an icon of the sport, and how authentic and real Gwen was to everyone she met.