Best of 2011: Andrea Hewitt's Grand Final redemption
Coming into the 2011 series Grand Final in Beijing it had been a case of so close, but so far, for Andrea Hewitt.
A gutsy third in Sydney, fourth in Madrid, 11th in Kitzbühel, fourth in Hamburg, sixth in London and then another third in Lausanne – she had been the epitome of consistency so far. Coming into the season finale, she was just one point behind Paula Findlay in fourth spot, a podium place was well within reach. It was almost the exact same position she was in 12 months before, at the 2010 Budapest Grand Final. Except that back there, she missed out on a medal with a 22nd place finish.
ALL ABOUT ANDREA
Dextro Energy Triathlon Series Wins: 3 (2 Silver, 4 Bronze)
Where she calls home: Christchurch, New Zealand
You can follow Andrea on Twitter, @andreahewitt
But instead of being intimidated, Hewitt used that memory to her advantage. She rode with the lead bike group, and then her and Helen Jenkins broke away early on in the run, before Hewitt sprinted away in the final few metres. While Jenkins still claimed the overall ITU World Championship, that win ensured that Hewitt stole the show in Beijing and finished with overall ITU World Championship silver. She said afterwards, she was determined not to let this one slip with last year’s finish fresh in her mind.
“From the start of the run, I led the first kilometre and then as soon as Helen passed me I just hung on to her and I knew I had a little bit more energy for the last part, so I went for it soon as I came into the stadium,” Hewitt said. “Last year I was so close to getting on the podium for the world champs series, so this year coming second, it just makes up for everything.”
But if Hewitt’s Beijing win was brilliant, and it was, what she did afterwards was simply remarkable. The pint-sized Kiwi backed-up just 10 days later to win in 38-degree conditions in Yokohama, with enough time to stop and high-five fans all the way down the finishing chute and still beat Emma Moffatt by 13 seconds.
Her season didn’t finish there though, as she headed home for the 2011 ITU Auckland World Cup. The preview for next year’s World Triathlon Series Grand Final was not only at home, but extremely hilly course on each of the eight bike laps meant the pressure was really on. Even though she said on the bike leg afterwards, “It just kept going on and on…those hills just take everything out of the legs,” Hewitt went on to her most convincing win yet, with a margin of almost a minute separating her and silver medallist Tomoko Sakimoto.
In the small sporting nation of New Zealand, that has always punched above its sporting weight, Hewitt’s achievements have usually made back-page news. But in the leadup to and after Auckland, Hewitt has been in the spotlight even more than usual. And that spotlight has allowed the softly-spoken 29 year old to actually speak out loud her aim for next year.
“The last couple of races have really proven my ability – to myself. Especially in Yokohama, just running away and being alone out in front, that was pretty amazing,” she told New Zealand press just before Auckland. “I know I can do it. I know I can win Olympic gold.”
There is no denying that after that stellar finish to season 2011, there aren’t many that doubt she can.
Barbara Riveros Diaz created history for herself and her country with her ITU Sprint World Championship in Lausanne, as it was the first triathlon world title for a Chilean athlete. And it remains the highlight of her year.05:08 - 17 Dec, 2011
Jonathan Brownlee had one excellent 2011, but Lausanne is the race that stands out for the 21-year-old. Not only was it his second consecutive sprint world title, this time he beat brother Alistair Brownlee to it.11:36 - 14 Dec, 2011
Helen Jenkins played out her 2011 plan perfectly in London, securing her spot for the 2012 Olympic Games a year out with her first series win. But she wasn't finished there, rolling on to her second ITU World Championship.03:49 - 09 Dec, 2011
Emma Moffatt might not have added a third world championship title to her resume, but she learnt some valuable lessons this year and still celebrated one 'extra special' win in Hamburg.07:51 - 02 Dec, 2011
Australia's Brad Kahlefeldt had been chasing a win in Hamburg for nine years, which made it even sweeter when he finally clinched one. Hear what he has to say about his first Dextro Energy Triathlon Series victory here.10:49 - 29 Nov, 2011
Paula Findlay's season didn't end well, but let's not forget where it started in 2011, with three consecutive wins to become the equal most successful woman in Dextro Energy Triathlon Series history. Read about her year here.10:50 - 23 Nov, 2011
In the second of our Best of 2011 series, we take a look at the eventual 2011 ITU World Champion Alistair Brownlee and the race in 2011 that reminded everyone he is the complete triathlete, Kitzbühel.09:18 - 22 Nov, 2011
In the best of the Dextro Energy Triathlon ITU World Championship Series this year, we'll be bringing you some of the best race moments and more on those who created them. First up? Javier Gomez and that comeback in Sydney.08:42 - 11 Nov, 2011
Great Britain's Helen Jenkins won her second ITU World Championship, but New Zealand's Andrea Hewitt stole the show with her win in the Dextro Energy Triathlon ITU World Championship Series Grand Final Beijing.08:30 - 11 Sep, 2011