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American Hunter Kemper came onto Competitor Radio to talk about his journey to the 2012 London Olympics, which will be his fourth Olympic start. After suffering severe elbow injuries in a race in October of 2011, Kemper spent months working to overcome multiple surgeries and infections.
“It’s been brutal…” Kemper explained to Bob Babbitt and Paul Huddle, “It’s been the hardest thing I’ve had to deal with in my career in regards to the recovery process and the therapy I had to go through.”
Kemper’s first race back from the crash was the 2012 ITU World Triathlon San Diego Triathlon on May 12. In order to earn a guaranteed spot on the 2012 London Olympic team Kemper would have to finish as the top American male, or finish in the top-nine athletes. He did both, finishing fifth.
“I think my confidence built over the course of the 10K,” Kemper said. “I wasn’t even in position at the 5K-mark. I still was the third American, even at 5K. So, I built into that run. I don’t have a lot of leg speed right now, so that’s the way I had to run it. I had to back half it and it worked to my advantage and it worked out well for me.”
Going into the race the focus was on Americans like Jarrod Shoemaker and Matt Chrabot, with the possibility of someone like Manny Huerta nabbing one of the two Olympic spots. Very little attention was given to Kemper. Babbitt asked Kemper if he used that as fuel for his race.
“To be honest with you I did. I really did,” Kemper said. “People kind of do write you off and it’s okay with me. I kind of chose, somewhat, to not be talked about because I was declining interviews and stuff like that. But, I’m not going to lie. When you see Jarrod and Matt on the magazines and on the covers you can’t help but be fueled. To think ‘hey, I guess everyone thinks this has been written. Why are we even doing the race?’”