About a year ago Gwen Jorgensen mentioned in an interview with slowtwitch that she would like to compete in some ITU World Championship events. She has done that and some more, and this summer will be representing the United States of America in the Olympic Games in London.
Slowtwitch: Well thank you for your time Gwen.
Gwen: It’s a pleasure.
ST: How is the Olympic Training Center treating you?
Gwen: I am training at the National Training Center in Clermont, FL. The weather here is great, and I couldn’t ask for better training partners!
ST: When did you get there and how long are you staying?
Gwen: I arrived in Florida in the beginning of the year and will stay here until May. Currently I am in Australia for a month, racing and training.
ST: Are you rooming with anybody there?
Gwen: In Clermont, FL I am renting a room in Sara McLarty’s house. She has another bedroom that she also rents out, so we usually have three pro triathletes in the same house. There are another 10-20 athletes in the area, so it is easy to find athletes to train with which makes workouts fun and interesting.
ST: Is the weather playing along?
Gwen: The weather has been perfect – it is sunny and warm almost every day!
ST: Your world has changed quite a bit since we last talked about a year ago.
Gwen: Yes, it has been an exciting past few months. I took a leave of absence from Ernst & Young, LLP, so I can focus solely on training, which has allowed me to recover better in between workouts.
ST: I recall you saying that you hoped to get a WCS start. Well, that you did and some more.
Gwen: It is great to race against the best athletes in the world. I enjoy being pushed and pushing others to the limit and am excited and hoping for many more WTS starts in the future. I could not have got WTS starts without the help of my coaches, friends, mentors, athletes, and sponsors. I am extremely lucky: I have an amazing support system, and the best equipment. I currently ride a Specialized bike with HED wheels, and a CycleOps Powermeter to help track my progress. I also have comfortable and fashionable Hincapie training gear!
ST: Talk about that race in London.
Gwen: It is a beautiful venue and I’m excited to go back to London. I’m hoping to see Big Ben, and wear at least one funny hat during my time there.
ST: We meant, what do you remember of your 2011 race in London?
Gwen: I remember being in the chase bike pack, and was fortunate to be accompanied by strong cyclists who were able to bridge the gap to the front group. We all came in to transition together, making it, basically, a running race. I remember running with some of my USA teammates, and remember hearing their encouragements. We have such a great group of USA women!
ST: How long did it take for you to grasp that you indeed had an Olympic spot?
Gwen: I think the reality will set in when I’m on the start line.
ST: So it is still not real?
Gwen: I feel blessed to be able to go to the Olympics – it is something that will be hard to comprehend until it is experienced. I am extremely excited to be a part of something that brings not only the United States of America together, but also the entire world together.
ST: Was your family over the moon?
Gwen: I am blessed to have a supportive family. They are behind me in everything I do – I’m lucky to have friends, family, coaches, teammates, sponsors and more who help me.
ST: We assume you and Sarah Groff were both thrilled to have earned the spot, but was it strange to face Sarah Haskins and Laura Bennett?
Gwen: Sarah and Laura are incredible athletes and, more importantly, people who were both excited and happy for Sarah and me. We are extremely lucky to have athletes that are not only the best in the world at Triathlon, but also quality people.
ST: Any thoughts on who might take that final spot?
Gwen: There are many USA athletes who have the potential to medal at the Games. I think it will come down to who is ready on the day of the race – it will be exciting!
ST: Back to you Gwen, how is your swimming and cycling improving?
Gwen: My coaches, mentors, and friends have been helping me prepare my swimming and cycling so I am ready to go on August 4th.
ST: There are quite a few new sponsors since we chatted last.
Gwen: I am excited about my partnership with Octagon. Heather Novickis is my agent and she’s been working very hard to get me sponsorships. I could not continue to do what I do without the support of sponsors. I still have my Honda Insight from David Hobbs Honda, which allows me to get to and from practices and races. I love my car, and gas is super cheap since it’s a Hybrid.
I have lots of new equipment this year that is preparing me for London: I ride a Specialized bike, HED wheels, CycleOps power meter, Hincapie clothes, and Oakley sunglasses. I also use Trainingpeaks to help track my data and communicate with my coach, Cindi Bannink. The New York Athletic Club (NYAC) also helps me out. A few weeks ago I was in New York and was able to workout at the NYAC’s beautiful facility.
I have a corporate sponsor as well – Citibank. It is great for Citi to sponsor some of the non-mainstream sports. It brings credibility and visibility to our sport, which is important along this journey. It is a huge honor to be a part of my sponsors’ teams.
Steinhafels is another local sponsor. They provide the best house furnishings in WI and I can’t wait to have my home in the Midwest decorated with the highest quality furniture.
ST: That sounds all very exciting and it is good that your agent is helping you with non-industry sponsors, because those companies are certainly quite a bit trickier to reel in.
Gwen: Yes, I am fortunate to have such a great agent!
ST: Anything else we should know?
Gwen: I feel like I have the best life, and God has truly blessed me. I could not do any of this without the support of my friends, family, mentors, coaches, teammates, and sponsors.