Pre-race quotes from some of the Pan Am Games contenders

Pre-race quotes from some of the Pan Am Games contenders

By Paula Kim on 22/10/11 at 5:49 pm

At the athletes pre-race briefing in Puerto Vallarta at the Pan Am Games, we caught up with some of Sunday’s contenders to get their insight on who will be their biggest rivals, how they’re feeling going into Sunday and their memories from the last Pan Am Games in Rio 2007.

Barbara Riveros Diaz (CHI):
On what it would mean to win Chile’s first triathlon medal in Pan Games history:
“It would be really nice to get that medal for my country and as well, for all Latin America, they really support me all the time, they say I’m their mirror and reflections of how it works (and success) so that’s really inspiring to me.  It would be an honour for my country but also for all Latin American people.”

On how much she has changed as an athlete since the last Pan Am Games:
“Not that much,” she says at first with a laugh. “I’m a bit more professional now, I took some big decisions in my life, in 2007 that was the year that I went away from my family and I went to Australia and trained there with my coach.  In four years I’ve been very focused and enjoyed triathlon and enjoyed my job and matured from a teenager.”

On her race strategy and who her biggest rivals will be on Sunday:
“It’s quite different from a WCS or World Cup, here there is definitely a tactic around (the race).  But for me, I know I have to race like I want to win, a race where it doesn’t matter who is there, just race the same way.  I will do my best and we will see.”

Brent McMahon (CAN)
On his memories from Rio 2007:
“It was a lot of hard work, lot of focus, we took it really seriously and we’ve done the same thing coming into here.  A Major Games is a Major Games and there’s also an Olympic spot on the line for our country so our goal is to get three guys at the Olympics for Team Canada so we’re both going after that. I came up a little short last time so I hope to improve on the silver with a gold.”

On how he feels going into the race:
“I feel awesome.  I raced two weeks ago and we trained through it a little bit and I was a little flat and this last week coming into this race, everything has really started to sharpen up and feel really good.”

On his biggest threats for gold:
“The Americans, couple Brazilians, couple Mexicans with home territory, it’s hot, their conditions.  Leonardo Chacon from Costa Rica so there are a handful of really strong guys that we’re going to have to try and beat.”

Sarah Haskins (USA):
On Rio 2007 and how much she has changed as an athlete since then:
“It was a lot of fun back in 2007 and I’m really looking forward to working together with the girls and repeating the experience.  Back in 2007, I was still kind of starting out, understanding the sport and since then, I’ve done a lot more different styles of racing, I’ve done a lot more non-drafting racing and I definitely have seen the ITU series – it’s turned into what was previously World Cups into now the World Championship Series – the racing is at a much, much higher level I would say, all in all.  It’s extremely challenging but that’s all for the best, you want racing to continue to be evaluated with more and more competition.”

On her personal expectations for Sunday’s race:
“Personally you always want to go into a race doing your best.  I was silver in 2007 so a gold would be nice.  I would definitely love to finish on top of the podium but I would really be happy with anywhere on the podium.  But most especially, to have a U.S. woman on the podium, not necessarily me, but the goal of the team is to have someone on top.”

On her toughest opponents for gold:
“There’s some amazing athletes here – Barbara (Riveros Diaz) has been previously ranked number one in the world, she’s had WCS wins so she’s definitely going to be a tough competitor.  As well as Flora (Duffy) who’s been racing really well, she’s really stepped up her game.  And my teammates, they’re really tough competitors as well but if anyone of us gets on top of the podium, it would be like we were on top of the podium.”

On how she’s feeling coming into the race:
“This is my last race of the year, this is number 13 for the year so it’s been a very long season which started in march.  The body is tired but it’s pepped up because I’m really excited to finish out the season on a strong note and I’m just going to go out there and give it everything I got because after this I won’t have to do any training sessions after this!!” she said with a laugh.

Leonardo Chacon (CRC):
Memories of Rio 2007 and how much his career has changed since then:
“It was a great race for me because I felt really strong there and I hope I can do better here so we’ll see on Sunday.  I think I have changed a lot but the sport also changed a lot so I must improve everyday to be at the top if I want.”

On his own expectations for Sunday’s race:
“My own personal expectation is to do my best, have a great race and if it’s possible, to be on the podium because it would mean so much for my country so I’m going to try and get one for them.”

On what it would mean to win Costa’s Rica’s first ever triathlon medal at the Pan Am Games:
“It would be the best moment of my life I think so I’m going to work hard out there on Sunday and we’ll see what happens.”

On who are likely to be his fiercest rivals on Sunday:
“The Canadians Brent McMahon and Kyle Jones, also Matt Chrabot, Reinaldo Colucci from Brazil, Crisanto Grajales from Mexico but in this kind of race, everyone is important, any breakaway.  So I’m going to try to be in the lead group and after that, see what happens in the run.”

On whether he’s more nervous or excited:
“I’m okay, its one race more so I’m going to do as I always do, try and have some fun out there and we’ll see.”

The women’s race gets underway at 8:10am (local time) while the men start at 11:00am.  Get live race updates on Twitter @triathlonlive

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