"It's a big question mark and it's a big unknown" - Gwen Jorgensen on Podcast #70
It was a low-key title for a major announcement when the Rio 2016 Olympic Triathlon Champion Gwen Jorgensen told the world via video on her YouTube channel that she was returning to the blue carpet this year with Paris 2024 as her target.
Just four months since giving birth to her second son George, Gwen is back on a start list for the first time in nearly seven years, with the Taupo Continental Cup and New Plymouth World Cup the starting points for her latest challenge. Having left triathlon in late 2016 to turn to running and pursuing marathon dreams, the 36-year-old is once again enjoying something she never thought she would: being back in the pool training.
Listen to the full episode on Spotify, Apple and Google, and don’t forget to add the New Plymouth World Cup to your diary – you can watch the race live on 26 March, on TriathlonLive.tv.
“It all happened while I was pregnant with George. I had always felt like I really missed out on the mixed team relay and wished it was in the 2016 Olympic Games… So that’s what really gave me the motivation to come back. We joined Ian O’Brian’s training group in Colorado which was amazing, with Taylor Knibb and Morgan Pearson and I just realized, oh my gosh, I’m having fun in the water!”
Having faced criticism for what was the perception from many for turning her back on the sport, there is no doubt that the sport that chose her – rather than the other way around - is very much back in her affections.
“I did a lot of times say I just didn’t like triathlon anymore, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t like the sport of triathlon. I just didn’t enjoy competing in it anymore. I loved the community and even when I quit I still was involved in the triathlon community. I was still giving back to triathlon groups and talking to junior groups about triathlon because I do think it gave me so much in my life. This time it’s different… it’s me having the ability to say I really want to do this.”
The Oceania Cup may be looming larger on the schedule than Gwen may have liked, but she knows only too well that if she is to hit the start lists that can get her to Paris – specifically the Test Event and Championship Finals Pontevedra – then the first signs of performance need to come soon.
“I’m breastfeeding still, so hormones are crazy. I was actually at the calendar like, oh my gosh, we leave for New Zealand in two weeks! But I think whenever the race would come I’d feel not ready. It’s a big question mark and it’s a big unknown. It’s probably a little too early, earlier than we’d like, but I really wanted to do New Plymouth World Cup and so it just kind of made sense to go to New Zealand, do that Conti Cup, spend three, four weeks there training. Plus I’m just excited to get out of Boulder, it’s been a long winter!”
From enjoying the feel of the water again to registering personal bests on the track, the build-up is undoubtedly already going well for the Olympic Champion’s return, but the challenge is only just beginning. You can listen to the interview in full below or wherever you subscribe to your podcasts.
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