Q & A: Team USA’s Manny Huerta

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At the Olympic Trials right after you qualified, you talked about what it meant to you to represent the US at the Olympic Games. How has that changed at all now that it’s real and you’re actually here?

It hasn’t changed. I’m very happy that I was able to make the team and now my dream is actually going to come true on Tuesday. I’m very proud that I’m able to race for the US. I’m going to do the best I can and I can’t wait. As it gets closer I get more anxious to get out there and to race and enjoy the race and race very hard.

How was preparation for this race different than for a typical ITU WTS race?

Basically nothing changed. My coach and I don’t want to risk an injury and come up here over-trained or sick. Mentally, I prepare for the hardest race of my entire life. If I discovered new pain barrier in SD to get here, I’m sure I’m going to discover another one here.

How will you define success for yourself in this race?

For me it’s already a success to make it here. What I do next will be the icing on the cake. I know that coming over here, I wanted to do it for my family, my supporters, my friends my sponsors, my coaches, so I already did that for them. So what I do at this race will be for myself. I want it to be one of those races where I go to sleep and I’m like, “that was 100%.” And I’m prepared for that physically and mentally. I think a successful race for me is that everything falls into the right place. There were some girls yesterday that crashed and had flats. For me, it will be that none of that I can’t control doesn’t go wrong and that I’m actually able to do like I did in SD and do my best.

So is it more about your effort level than the result?


Was there anything you learned about the course, the conditions or potential tactics for this race by watching the women earlier this week?

There were a lot of crashes, that was the main thing. And there were a lot of crashes in the men’s race last year as well. It doesn’t even become handling or skill. You can be the best cyclist but if the guy in front of you wipes out, you’re in trouble and there’s nothing you can do. It’s going to be a fast swim, could be very tactical on the bike so I’m going to pick my battles there and stay very alert for crashes or flats in that group.

If a couple athletes attack on the bike during the ride, will you plan to cover moves and go with breakaways or keep yourself at a constant level in the pack?

I’ll see who those athletes are and with my background, I’ve never been on a breakaway, but if I find myself in one yes, of course, I’m going to try to go. I think it will be a difficult thing since there are a lot of big countries here all shooting for a medal and all those countries are going to try and get control of the race. I think it’s going to be very tactical. It could be fast at first, but then it’s going to slow down at the end.

Were you inspired watching the close women’s finish?

Oh yeah. My heart rate was very high. I’ve been calm and relaxed ever since I got here, and just watching that race and how it ended, and watching Sarah Groff making that comeback, it has been the most exciting race of triathlon that I ever got to watch, since I barely ever get to watch a race because I’m in it.

Do you see this as the pinnacle of your triathlon career or just one landmark? 

Oh, this is just the beginning for me. There is going to be a lot more. This was just what I needed to turn around my career and now I know that only good things will happen in my athletic career and I cant wait until once the Olympics are over to get a plan out there to regroup and go after some of the big races back in the US.

Are there any other Olympic events you’re going to try and catch while you’re out here?

Yeah, I already put my name in to see if I could go see track and field, maybe water polo. Since we’re not in the [Olympic] Village, we don’t know what we’re going to be able to watch, but once the race is over I’d love to go watch some other events and be able to enjoy the whole atmosphere and the great energy that is around here.

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