In Their Own Words: The U.S. Men On Their Race In Rio

Joe Maloy, Ben Kanute and Greg Billington on bike packs, pacing, and chasing the Brownlees.

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Joe Maloy, Ben Kanute and Greg Billington on bike packs, pacing, and chasing the Brownlees

Joe Maloy, 23rd

Maloy was in the back of the chase pack for the majority of the bike until a crash on lap 7 split up the group, leaving him and five other riders slightly behind the group. Still, Maloy kept persevering to work his way through the field with a 32:33 run split (14th fastest of the day).

“It was a good swim. I got out pretty clean, the first buoy is always a dog fight, and I struggled getting around that but settled into a rhythm. Unfortunately I missed the break out of the water and then I got onto the bike and I didn’t put myself in a position on the bike to do much of anything except get to the run. And that’s my own failure. That’s probably the biggest thing I wish I could get back.”

“I got bumped in the first [bike] lap and something happened with my shifting where I had trouble getting into the big ring. Fortunately on this course, I was able to stay in there, until the crash split up our group and the back 5–6 people got separated. I was in a position of being in the back the whole time but… stuff like that happens. It’s triathlon.”

“But then I got to the run and, you know, you have to be wherever you are. You can’t just wish you were at the front of the race, and you can’t be sad that you’re at the back of the race. You can’t ever quit. You have to keep fighting and keep persevering and I think that’s what triathlon is about and that’s what the Games were about. I was proud of the way I ran—I didn’t give up, I didn’t quit. I just kept fighting and that was the best I had today. I wanted to make my family and my country proud.”

Thoughts on his first Olympics:
“It’s special, It’s something I can’t put into words. My family is here, my coach is here, my friends are here. What makes sports special are people coming together to enjoy it. It helps inspire people in a way that few other things can. And that’s something that will stay with me forever. I saw my friends from college, I saw my parents, cousins, family, my coach, and people I didn’t even know. And that’s what it’s about—it’s about the people.”

Ben Kanute, 29th

Known for not being afraid to push the pace to stay in the front bike pack, Kanute did just that on Olympic day, riding with the two Brownlee brothers for the entire eight-lap leg. Even if that cost him some energy on the run, he has no regrets about going for it.

“I had a really good swim and a really good bike, and I was right where I wanted to be to set myself up for a good finish. But on the bike I had to work hard just to stay in it. I was hurting real bad. It took me to halfway through the bike to feel like I could catch my breath. That first lap was just all out, and even the second lap there was no time to rest. We worked pretty well together and it showed, because there were a lot of good cyclists behind us, and they were all trying to work together to catch us, but our group of 10 was able to hold on and go strong the whole way.”

“We were going hard out the 180, hard around the left corner, hard onto the hill, and then the steep part is always hard and you’re always pushing 500-plus watts no matter what. There’s hardly any rest on this course. It’s just a grind the whole way.”

“The first lap of the run was pretty solid, I was kind of hanging right in 10th, and the second lap I was still in top 15 through 5K. But it just turned into survival. I couldn’t get enough fluids, and I was running out of juice. That’s a testament to the other guys, they were going just as hard as I was and they were running hard off the bike. I gave it all I could today and that’s all I could ask for.”

“I knew the run was going to be hard and biking that hard on this course just made the run that much harder. I tried to set myself up best as a could and sustain with a good turnover, but swimming all out and riding all out, I just ran out of gas. It happens.”

“I think my run is getting more and more consistent and I’m getting more comfortable at running at a fast pace. If you’re asking about 2020, I guess I have four years to get myself together.”

Greg Billington, 38th

Missing the two main groups meant Billington suffered with one other rider most of the bike leg, working hard on their own on the tough course. Like his teammate Joe Maloy, he gave the run all he could to make up a few spots with a 32:45 10K (17th fastest run split) once he got off the bike.

“What’s incredible and terrible about this sport is how little seconds can make a huge difference by the end. I was fine with my swim—it wasn’t exactly where I wanted, but I was still in there to make that pack. And then for some reason I couldn’t execute out of the first transition, and from there [Ireland’s] Bryan Keane and I just did everything we could to try to salvage what we could out of the race. I gave the best that I could on the swim and bike and it just wasn’t enough. After that, it was just—you come to the Games and you’re not going to do anything but leave your best out on the course, and so that’s what I did on the run. I wanted to win the race out of the second or last pack, and I did that, but that’s a small consolation. I left everything on the course and that’s all I could ask of myself.”

“USAT has been phenomenal here in giving us the support needed, and it’s an incredible experience and I’m thankful to be here. Obviously the week is kind of defined by how the race goes, and it was atrocious, but I’m just very happy to be here.”

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