While the men officially get the Olympic triathlon commotion underway tomorrow, the women will follow suit on Saturday Aug. 20. So as the prep continues, the USA women, Gwen Jorgensen, Sarah True and Katie Zaferes, took the time in between their training schedules to chat with some global media outlets. Here is what they had to say:
You have been prepping for this date all season long, how does it feel knowing you are days away from finally racing?
“I am excited to race and just to get out there. Last year at the test event there was a lot of people out there cheering, so I am expecting it to be the same this year, so yeah I just am excited to race.”
What has the training with the Wizards been like?
“So since Yokohama we have been in Victoria, Spain and training there. It has been so great to have those training partners, we have had a great core group of us who are here in Rio and competing, so we are there every day pushing each other and really trying to get better and prepare for race day.”
How has your hill prep been?
“Yeah I have been preparing for that hill. In Victoria we have been doing some circuits with hills in them to prepare us on the bike. It is going to be a tough course, you are going to go up that hill. Everyone has to go up that hill, you can’t just hide so I think that we will find out real quick on race day, who has done the work and who is going to be ready for the hill and then you get off on the run and that is going to be hard as well because although it is flat, it could be hot or raining, we don’t know. But running after the step hill, it puts a lot of fatigue in your legs.”
Do you have an ideal race situation you would like to see happen?
“Triathlon is an interesting sport because you never know what is going to happen. You can’t really have a plan, because the plan will not go to plan or as you thought. So you just try to prepare yourself for every situation and just go out there and do your best.”
How so far has this Olympic experience been to your experience in London?
“In London I went to the Opening Ceremony because our race was a little bit closer to the start. And then I did the race and I was able to enjoy the other races and go to them in person and cheer on my USA teammates. Then this year I just flew in on August 15th, so I have been watching the Olympics on my television and did not go to the Opening Ceremony. So there are things like that that are different, but one thing that has been the same is that USA Triathlon has done a great job of just giving us all the support that we need and we have a chef that is cooking for us and making sure we have the food we need, and just really staying on top of it and making it easy so that all we have to worry about is our race on August 20th.”
You qualified at this course last year, what sticks out to you about the course:
“What is great about this sport is that there are so many variables to it. Just because the race went a certain way last year, in the same exact course we could have a completely different race. I think athletes are willing to have different tactics. It was a very conservative race last year, we didn’t ride super hard so I think everyone was aware that it was going to come down to a run race. But now I think everyone is prepared to have the bike break up the field this year. So it has less to do with the course and more to do with the players and the strategies that people are willing to put forth.”
How are you feeling going into Saturday as your second time around?
“Honestly I am feeling more experience this time around. I have been to the Olympics, I know that this is going to be totally different race, but I think the excitement is going to be really similar. But I am going into the race as an experienced athlete and I think that always helps.”
After finishing fourth in London and then fourth at the test event last year, how are you feeling about your chances?
“I feel like I finish fourth a lot. It is going to be a super competitive race on Saturday, honestly everybody has peaked for this. It is what some of us have been waiting for, for the last four years. But I am happy, I have gotten in a good block of training, but if I didn’t do quite enough, I didn’t do quite enough, but that will show on race day. Hopefully the pieces fall together, but I don’t know, it’s racing.”
The USA women’s team is so strong, what would you think about a podium sweep:
“That would be amazing! But there is some strict competition out there. I would love to say that it is definitely going to happen, but that would be a very bold prediction on my part.”
How has the Olympic experience so far been going for you?
“We got in on Monday, so yesterday (Tuesday) was our first full day here, but we have been pretty busy. My husband Tommy has been getting to go to the events so he has been getting to experience that part. Leading up to the race, I love being surrounded by the atmosphere but I will probably just kind of conserve energy. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to go to too many events beforehand, but I am really looking forward to after the race and seeing the marathon because that it like the only event that will be left.”
It must have felt nice to get that first WTS win in Hamburg right before Rio:
“For me, I had been waiting for that win all season and just for thing to come together. It was disappointing because I had seen my training going super well and then when it came to races I just was not executing well, like I would have liked to for the first few races. So going into Hamburg, just doing my thing and having a strong swim, bike and run overall and seeing what happens when I race like that, was a pretty cool result. I was excited because coming into Rio now and just feeling and a little more calm and just realizing mentally where I need to be at and just not to overthink it one of the most important takeaways I think I had, just to keep it simple and do what I do. Do what I did all last year, do what I did in Hamburg and then do it here.”
What has your last month of training been like?
“We were in Les Angles, France for a month and a half, but then we came down in the last two weeks just to come to sea-level and then we were in Banyoles, Spain and both of those places are like two of my favourite places to train because training is easy. It just is great, I just love it there and it has been places we have been before, so it feels kind of “homie.” So that is what we have been doing for training, so just training with my squad with Joel Filliol, which has been really good. I am surrounded by people, a lot of people that have gone through the Olympics, so that is really nice to have because I can go to them with any questions. So it is good to get some advice on things from them.”
When you finally got that call saying you would be the final USA teammate, how did that feel?
“It was such a relief and I felt like I deserved it, but you can’t technically deserve it unless you automatically qualify for it, which I didn’t do. So to actually get chosen and be with Sarah and Gwen, who are both into their second Olympics and are people whom I look up to a good amount, it just is really cool. Especially when we finished on the podium last year together, I just felt like I belong with them so it was nice to get that.”