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San Diego Press Conference

18 April 2013 by Andrew Dewhurst
San Diego Press Conference

Pre-race day in Dan Diego and the Local Organising Committee welcomed Alistair Brownlee (GBR), Matt Chrabot (USA), Sarah Groff (USA) and Felicity Abram (AUS) as they met the media at the event’s official press conference this afternoon to preview their expectations and form ahead of Friday’s elite women’s race and Saturday’s elite men’s race.

First to speak at the press conference was Rob Urbach, CEO USA Triathlon
On hosting the event in San Diego
“We are thrilled to be here, at one of the mecca’s of triathlon and the epicentre of the sport here in the USA. We hope this year will be even better than last year. We are also excited to bring one of three para tri races in the western hemisphere to this event. On behalf of USA Triathlon and the ITU I want to thank the Mayor and the sports commission of the city of San Diego, we certainly hope to continue racing here in the future, we think this is one of the best stops on the circuit.”

Felicity Abram (AUS)
On surviving through a couple of years of injuries to return to her best form, finishing third in Auckland last month:
“I enjoy triathlon really; I still have to prove myself to be consistent, even Auckland still feels like a fluke. I think it is a bit of a joke in our household that I am old; it feels like I have been going for ten years. But I enjoy racing, enjoy travelling the world, I have had a lovely few weeks here in San Diego, but I haven’t proven consistent on a yearly basis, Auckland was a good start but I would like to continue it.”

On the next generation of Aussies in the sport:

“I think we have a good generation of young girls and guys coming up, our lifestyle in Australia suits triathlon, it is great to see the young ones coming up, I think we need to help them into international racing and help them grow. That is how I started on the World Cup circuit at around 18 years old.”

What about the travelling, you are away from home so much:
“It does take a long time to adjust; when younger I didn’t like it at all, travelling away for long amounts of time. As you get older you get used to it, you make more friends in different parts of the world and I am used to being away from home and while I miss my family and cherish moments back home it is a lifestyle I enjoy.”

Matt Chrabot USA
On what drives him in the sport:
“For me when I was a kid I never dreamed of going to the Olympics, I just dreamed of being successful. Over the last four years heading into London I thought the dream could become a reality participating in the Olympics, as far as success at the Olympics goes that wasn’t necessarily on the radar. Having success in sport of triathlon drives me and thanks to the support of USA Triathlon they give me funding to go to the best camps and work with best coaches in the world, I am a firm believer in not wasting any of that money, that is why I am giving it my all at the ITU level.”

On what it means to be racing in San Diego:
“I first came to San Diego back in 2007 to train at the Olympic training centre, I fell in love with this town and when I found out this was the birthplace of Triathlon I thought that kind of makes sense. The weather is perfect almost all year round; there are plenty of swimming options and the cycling and running is fantastic. Just to be here for half a week is awesome but to come here for several weeks or a few months on camps is incredible, it is a great town.”

On events in Boston:
“I was in disbelief. These are some tough times, hopefully everything will go according to plan this weekend and there won’t be any hiccups or bumps in the road. It takes your breath away when you think about stuff like that.”

Sarah Groff (USA)
On her 4th place finish in London:
“I think back in 2008 the spot for Beijing was down to me and Sarah Haskins and I thought I might actually be able to do this, it was then a four year journey towards London. It was quite a trip, maybe others thought I wouldn’t make the team or be in contention for a medal but I did and that is all that matters.”

On her boyfriend, US middle distance runner Ben True:
“I have learned a lot living with a runner, they don’t always understand triathlon training, but it is great taking lessons from other sports, I don’t think it is a coincidence my run has got better since we have been dating, he doesn’t coach me but I glean bits of information here and there.”

On San Diego:
“Last year I was excited to come here for the Olympic trials to show off one of the best cities in the USA to my ITU friends. When you travel around the world you can see the host country athletes have a sense of pride; this is a great venue, we are proudly saying ‘welcome to the US’. This is sweet, especially if you haven’t been to the USA before, the fan support is great, the weather is great but more than anything people think this is an incredible town.”

On events in Boston:
“I am a proud New Englander now, the Boston Marathon is deeply in the fabric of that part of the country. I haven’t run in the Boston Marathon but I have run in the 5km I did a few years ago, Ben has too. It is absolutely heartbreaking that something as pure as sport could be tarnished in that way.  I think it hit the heart of any participant sport around the world but definitely hit people form that part of the country. The world tries to move on after an event like that hopefully we can channel some of the positive energy and sense of community supporting the victims into something good this weekend.”

Alistair Brownlee (GBR)
On his rocky road to London with injury, one that ended brilliantly with gold:
“A million things went through my mind, from the first moment of getting diagnosed, a tear in the Achilles, it doesn’t get much worse, three weeks in a cast, what can I do. I never gave myself a choice of whether I was going to do it or not, just get on the start line and hopefully it will work out. Kitzbuel was a massive swing, if things hadn’t gone well there I may not have made the team, I had six weeks from there and fortunately it all went well.”

On receiving the MBE:
“It was very special. That was one of the special things about the Olympics, triathlon is fantastic but it is only a niche sport in Britain, the Olympics catapulted triathlon into a new category. I have since done different things including receiving the MBE and meeting The Queen. Going to Buckingham Palace was as you expect it to be, lost of chandeliers, paintings, and people in funny suits, I enjoyed it a lot, it was a great experience all round.”

On form coming into San Diego:
“I’m not in the shape from London but I can’t spend my life trying to be in that shape all the time. I have six to eight weeks of training, but I have a massive few months gap from last year to now, so I am just happy to be here and looking forward to racing to see what I have got. I have spent the last few years racing when fit and on form, so this will be nice to see how I go.”

This is the second running of the San Diego ITU World Triathlon Series race but the 39th year that San Diego has hosted a triathlon, dating back to 1974 and the first event held, giving rise to the reference to San Diego as the birthplace of Triathlon.

The Elite Women will go off at 3:30pm on 19 April, while the Elite Men will start on Saturday at 4:00pm local time.

International Women’s start times
International Men’s start times

Be sure to follow all the action live through the ITU’s live video stream on www.triathlon.org/tv, or follow via Twitter at @ITUonline and @triathlonlive