For access to all of our training, gear, and race coverage, plus exclusive training plans, FinisherPix photos, event discounts, and GPS apps, sign up for Outside+.
Superstar prep runner Lukas Verzbicas is even better at triathlon.
Despite being only 18, there are plenty of devoted track and field followers who expect to see Lukas Verzbicas on the track at the 2012 Olympics. There’s ample proof for why the teen deserves that support, too; quite frankly, he really is that good.
Yet as talented as Verzbicas is on the track, he might be turning down a major shot at an Olympic medal and international acclaim in a non-track event if he does stick with his running plan. According to a number of sources, Sports Illustrated among them, Verzbicas is among the most promising triathletes on the planet. In September he finished fourth at the International Triathlon Union Junior World Championships … and didn’t win in large part simply because he received a penalty for failing to put his swim cap and goggles in their designated box in the athletes’ transition area.
While Verzbicas may be most natural around the track — both his mother and stepfather are involved in track and field at a semi-professional level, and he has spent time on running courses since he was 15 months old — his newfound prowess in the triathlon has American coaches begging him to stick with his second sport. Typically, the teen closed a gap of more than a minute to the main lead pack on the running course after falling behind on the bike leg in the world championships.
While distance running coaches are still salivating about Verzbicas’ international potential, his triathlon coaches are equally excited about the possibility that the Illinois teen who emigrated to the states from Lithuania at age 8 could be the next great American triathlete.
Read more: Rivals High