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Athletes gathered in front of a large media contingent to preview this weekend’s racing in Yokohama. Here’s a look at what two-time ITU world champion Gwen Jorgensen (USA) had to say ahead of Saturday’s race. Read more of the pre-race comments here. The women race at 10 a.m. local time Saturday (6 p.m. PDT/9 p.m. EDT Friday), with the men following at 1 p.m. local time (9 p.m. PDT Friday/12 a.m. EDT Saturday). Follow the action at Triathlonlive.tv.
On her fitness and readiness to race this weekend
“I am excited to be here, I always feel very welcome here, I want to say thanks for putting on a wonderful event. I am excited to race and see where my fitness is at. I want to swim my fastest, ride my fastest and run my fastest, I just want to go out and test my limits.”
On winning so many races in a row for the last few years, then on the Gold Coast you did not win. Has that in any way influenced your feelings ahead of Rio?
“I think the beautiful thing about racing is you never know what might happen, I go into every race to compete and be on the top step and so do my competitors—that is what is great and exciting about sport. My goal is to win in Rio, it has been since 2012, that was my goal before Gold Coast and that is still my goal now.”
Post London, what led to the changes in her performances?
“After London I had a complete look at my performance and knew I had to improve my weaknesses, I had to improve my swim and my bike and even my run was solid but not excellent. In 2012 in this race I had maybe the 15th fastest run—so I looked at different coaches and that is when I found Jamie Turner, my coach now. I train in a daily performance environment with about 15 other international athletes who are my competitors. We train every single day in that environment. Plus Jamie is known for helping improve swim technique so that is why I joined him and am currently on this journey to Rio with Jamie.”
In response to Ueda’s comments (see below) about London and on recently turning 30 years old
“Thank you Ai for those kind words, I remember racing and sprinting to the line against you in London. My career progression is due to joining Jamie and the Wollongong Wizards, I train with my competitors every day in a training environment. And yes, I just turned 30 a couple of weeks ago, the history of the Olympics and WTS shows though that there are strong women who are 30 years or older.”
On her form since London 2012 and changes to her training and racing
“I am similar to Gwen, I realized I was not up to it in swimming, I could not draw on my strength in running to win the total race, therefore after London I had my coach come up with a new swim training menu and at the same time I trained with the men cyclists so I could upgrade my skill level, due to all of this I was able to come up with my best time in the Chicago Grand Final of 33 minutes 51 seconds in a triathlon.”
“So since I found male cycling partners who I train with they have been instrumental in speeding up my cycling. This and many other ways I have actually progressed and when I look back to London Olympics on the photographs and video, Gwen was ranked 38 and I was number 39, we were that close in London, but since then I have watched you (Gwen) become so strong and this is so motivating for me, the fact you were close to me but now you are so far ahead. But still two years ago we stood on the podium here, that was a real inspiration for me and while you are still many steps ahead you are an inspiration which motivates me to do my best and to become even better.”
Read the complete pre-race comments at Triathlon.org.