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As one of the top American men on the ITU circuit, 30-year-old Joe Maloy has big goals for 2016—including, hopefully, a spot on his first Olympic team for Rio. The New Jersey native, who ran and swam in high school and continued swimming while studying English at Boston College, now lives and trains in Poway, Calif. (just outside of San Diego), with the Triathlon Squad under coach Paulo Sousa. He has multiple top-10 finishes at ITU World Cups since going pro in 2010 and most recently won the Noosa Triathlon, making him the only American to do so in the race’s 33-year history.
“I’m not that guy who has everything completely dialed in and isn’t going to make any mistakes and has a place for everything and eats the perfect meal at the perfect time—that doesn’t work for me. I think there’s a perception that if you do all of that, your performance is guaranteed. And I think that ignores where performance actually comes from. In Noosa, I did a way better job of being myself and letting the performance take care of itself and let my body do what I prepared to do and what I love to do. And I think the love part is more important than what you’ve trained.”
“I love just hammering, I love working out hard, I love getting out and training and seeing what I’m made of. I view everything else that’s not swimming, biking and running as recovery. I think a big part of what all my travel experiences have taught me is that life stress is real stress. Everyday life—relationships, travel, anything you have to manage—takes a toll on you. Acknowledging that and knowing that you as a whole person need to be there to race, and you have to take everything into account.”
“I started out just like most American kids playing soccer, but my parents realized that wasn’t the game for me. Once, I was playing goalie and the action was at the other end of the field, and I just walked over to the side of the net and started taking a pee right in the middle of the game.”
“It was probably over Christmas [in 2012], I sent [coach] Paulo an email. He was doing his first camp of the year in New Mexico. He basically told me, ‘I’ll know you’re serious if you show up in Las Cruces.’ I had no idea what I was doing, but I knew I had to take a risk and do something drastic because I wasn’t moving in the right direction, triathlon-wise. Two weeks later I was sitting at a bus stop in El Paso, Texas, trying to get myself to Las Cruces, and I used my Spanish to talk my way onto some tour bus to Albuquerque. They dropped me off on the side of the highway, and I walked with my suitcase and bike bag up to the Value Place hotel, and camp started the next day.”
“I think it’s easier to take what some people would perceive as risks when you have a solid foundation of who you are and know what, deep down, people can’t take away from you. For me, it’s having an education, a solid family and great relationships with those close to me. As long as I have that, I feel like I can do anything.”
Book: East of Eden by John Steinbeck
“It’s got a bunch of interesting characters, and the whole theme is free will, and how all of us have these predispositions, but what we do with them is completely up to us.”
Word: timshel (from East of Eden)
“It’s a Hebrew word that means ‘thou mayest.’ It’s that idea that you always have a choice. It’s so much more powerful when you do something with intention.”
Movie: “Van Wilder”
Post-race meal: “Beer. I like IPAs. San Diego has made me a [Ballast Point] Sculpin IPA fan.”
Alcoholic beverage: Moscow mule
Family tradition: “I’m big on traditions. My favorite is Christmas in July. We would go to my grandma’s house and they would shut down the whole street on July 25 and we would sing Christmas carols and everyone would put lights on their house.”
T.V. Series: “I really like ‘The Sopranos’ and ‘Eastbound and Down,’ but above them, ‘Always Sunny in Philadelphia.’”