Triathlon


How NYAC's Gwen Jorgensen Went From CPA to Olympian
in one Year

In 2009, Gwen Jorgensen was 23, fresh out of college and eager to building her new career as a CPA at Ernst and Young – that is until Barbara Lindquist, the USA Triathlon Recruitment Coordinator, contacted her.

As a member of the Triathlon Hall of Fame, Lindquist knew what it took to become an elite triathlete. She noticed that Jorgensen had been a standout swimmer as well as an All-American track and cross-country athlete while at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and was looking to persuade the accountant to trade her calculator for a bodysuit.

Jorgensen was at first hesitant to literally dive into a sport that she had never competed in. She knew little about what a triathlon competition consisted of and did not want to jeopardize her new, promising career at Ernst and Young for an unfamiliar sport.
But Lindquist was persistent, and eventually persuaded Jorgensen to give the sport a try after assuring her that everything from a bike to coaching would be provided for.

To say that Jorgensen was a triathlon natural would be an understatement. In her very first triathlon, less than a year after her training began, Jorgensen finished eighth and fast enough to obtain an elite card.

Shortly after, Jorgensen traveled to Valencia, Spain to compete at the 2010 World University Games. There, she proved to herself and everyone else that her early success was not just beginners luck. Jorgensen crossed the finish line of her second triathlon in second place after posting the fastest run split by over two minutes.

By this point Jorgensen was hooked and decided to scale back to part-time at Ernst and Young. She finished her first season a Pan American Championships silver medalists and atop the podium of several elite international competitions before being named the 2010 USA Triathlon Rookie of the Year and Elite Duathlete of the Year.

During 2011, Jonathan Wells, the NYAC Triathlon Chairman, noticed the young up-and-comer, and welcomed Jorgensen to the NYAC’s triathlon roster. That year Jorgensen continued her meteoric rise and shocked the world by placing second, behind NYAC teammate Sarah Groff, at the International Triathlon Union Series (ITU) and claiming a spot on the 2012 United States Olympic Triathlon team.

Jorgensen’s Olympic debut, however, did not go as planned. She began the race fighting to position herself for an Olympic medal, but suffered an untimely flat tire during her bike leg and finished 38th overall. Jorgensen was let down by the discipline she had most recently picked up, finishing the course in a time of 2 hours 6 minutes 34 seconds – seven minutes slower than she had completed the same course a year before. But she was determined to turn the bad situation into a learning experience.

"I had a flat, so I had to stop and change it," Jorgensen said, reflecting on that third of seven-lap bike leg. "I got a little flustered. It never happened to me before. You’ve got to be prepared for everything."

Jorgensen bounced back strong during 2013 and made history as the first American woman to win an ITU World Triathlon Series race at the 2013 Omegawave World Triathlon Series race in San Diego in mid-April. She went on to win three more ITU World Triathlon Series races as well as national champion titles in the USAT Olympic and sprint distance triathlons.


“I’ve found that my greatest physical strength is my versatility,” reported Jorgensen. “Mentally, I’m driven to go back to the Olympics and do an even better job than last time. That’s my driving force.”

Like most of the NYAC’s triathletes, Jorgensen will spend the majority of the 2014 season competing on the ITU World Triathlon Series. The ITU Series consists of eight elite level races over six months and spans across five continental regions (Africa, Americas, Asia, Europe and Oceania).
“This year, I just want to compete consistently across the entire Series,” said Jorgensen. I want to put myself in the mix with different race situations and move forward for the Olympics in 2016.”

Jorgensen started the 2014 season in March with a win at the Moolooaba ITU Triathlon World Cup and third place finish a month later at the ITU World Triathlon race in Cape Town. She recently captured her second consecutive victory at the ITU series race in Yokohama, Japan and is the only woman to have ever won an ITU race.

Jorgensen will compete in the next ITU series race in London on June 1st. The Series will continue through August, taking place in cities including London, Chicago, Hamburg and Stockholm before culminating in Edmonton with the Series’ grand final.

Notable NYAC Athletes Competing in the 2014 World Triathlon Series:
Gwen Jorgensen: 3rd in world with 5905.95 Sarah Groff: 5th in world with 4771.00 Jarrod Shoemaker : 1st American with 2266.05 points Joe Maloy: 2nd American with 1729.67

*Rankings are used to determine the best performing triathletes of the season. An athlete’s final score will be obtained by adding the points gained in the ITU World Triathlon Series Grand Final plus the 5 best scores in the ITU World Triathlon Series events and the ITU Triathlon World Cup events.

By: Justin Gaymon





For more information about the team, please contact Jonathan Wells, chairman, jonathan.wells@gmail.com.

       
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