As the countdown draws nearer to the start of the Olympic triathlon action, the men’s team for the United States, Greg Billington, Ben Kanute and Joe Maloy, sat down with media outlets from all over the globe to chat about the Olympic experience here in Rio. The men will take the stage on August 18th, while the women’s race is on the 20th.
You’ve raced on this course before, last summer. What makes it challenging for you personally, and how does it play to your strengths?
“Any course, when you go to the Olympics, it’s going to end up being an extremely hard, extremely challenging race. The fact that there is an incredible climb that we do eight times and a really steep, technical descent, really choppy water, and a hot, hard run just adds to that excitement. For me, it’s a swim, bike, run. It’s what I do every day, so I’m just excited to get out there and see what is the best I can do. I’ve been training for this — I mean, I started triathlon 10 years ago, and this is the pinnacle of that, so I’m excited to go out and race a bunch of people.”
“How this course plays to my weaknesses, that’s up for my competitors to figure out, so I won’t answer that one. In terms of my strengths, to tell you the truth, I just really like Rio. I enjoy it here. I enjoy the vibes, I enjoy the atmosphere, the people, the culture, and I plan on soaking all that in and feeding off a little bit of that Olympic energy.”
“It’s an Olympic Games, so no matter what course you’re on it’s going to be very challenging, very fast the entire time. This course is pretty unique with a one-loop ocean swim, a steep, hilly bike, and it’s a hot, fast run at the end. I’m just excited to go out there and see what I can do.”
What has been the best part of qualifying for the Olympic team?
“The best part of qualifying is simply the opportunity to represent my country. I started dreaming about the Olympics when I was 8 years old and won the 50 fly county championships. I was like, ‘dude, I’m basically going to be Olympian now, I think that’s how that works.’ Since then there have been a lot of challenges, but I think this event is what makes us strive every day to find out what the best is that we can be. Now that we’re finally here and we actually have that opportunity to show what we spent decades perfecting, that’s more than most people can hope for. I’m just really lucky and really glad that I get to be here and do that in Rio.”
“The best part of qualifying for me was finishing it, and being qualified. That whole process, it was pretty long for us. Once it was finished and we knew we’d have the opportunity to come here and race the world at the Olympic Games, I think for me, I’m just excited and happy. I think it’s going to be fun.”
“I think the best moment for me is just each new opportunity that I get. It started all the way back when we first made the team back in May. Since then we’ve gotten to do a whole bunch of things that we hadn’t done before — go through processing, come and represent the U.S. on the biggest stage in triathlon and in sports. And I think there are going to be many more opportunities that come along in the next week or so, ending with that race on Thursday. I’m excited to do that and keep making the most of these moments.”
Any concerns about the weather?
“To tell you the truth, personally I do not have any concerns about the weather because there is nothing that I can do about it. We are ready, I mean we wear our bathing suits when we race, so we don’t have to worry about clothing really. So whatever it is, it is going to be the same for everybody, so I think that should be the approach, just to be flexible with whatever the day gives us.”
On the decision to compete in Rio, despite media concerns
“I don’t think there was really any thought process involved, I knew I was coming. All of the media stuff, I was not really too concerned about it. I knew that if you go anywhere, there is always going to be someone who brings up some issues, but for me this was my dream and there was no nothing that was going to stand in my way. I was simply just excited to get to Rio and race in the Olympic Games.”
How did you get involved with triathlon, instead of concentrating on just one of the three disciplines:
“For me it started at a really young age. I guess I grew up in transition areas, my Dad was doing them when I was really young, I remember him doing the Chicago triathlon and then I was lucky enough to have a kid’s triathlon happen really close to where I lived. So I just fell in love with the sport there, I have been competitively competing in the sport since I was 12 years old. I did cross country in school, swimming in school and all of that, but just became more invested in triathlon when I became more successful in that.”
|Results: Elite Men|