Gwen Jorgensen back on top; U.S. Olympic men’s triathlon team set
Gwen Jorgensen started what she hopes is a new winning streak Saturday, dominating in her typical style.
Also Saturday, Joe Maloy, Ben Kanute and Greg Billington clinched the three U.S. Olympic men’s triathlon berths, joining Jorgensen, Sarah True and a to-be-named third woman on the Rio team. The complete U.S. Olympic roster is now at 126 qualified athletes.
Jorgensen made no mention of her previous streak, or her surprising runner-up finish five weeks ago, in a post-victory interview in Yokohama.
“There’s one goal for the year, and that’s the Olympics on August 20th,” said Jorgensen, seeking to become the first U.S. Olympic triathlon champion. “Just going to keep building towards that.”
Jorgensen was her usual dominating force en route to her fourth straight Yokohama title, in her fastest-ever time racing in Japan, where her record streak began in 2014.
She quickly erased a five-second deficit following the 1500m swim and 40km bike and gradually increased her lead during the 10km run, her specialty. Her winning margin was among the largest of her 16 career World Triathlon Series victories.
Jorgensen had enough of a cushion that she high-fived fans on both sides of the final ramp shortly before grabbing the finishing tape at the line. She did not appear to be breathing heavily.
Commentators on site marveled that Jorgensen wasn’t sweating and had time to put on a hat before the second- and third-place triathletes completed the course in exhaustion more than one minute later.
However, the Yokohama field did not include Great Britain’s Helen Jenkins, who snapped Jorgensen’s win streak in Gold Coast, Australia, on April 9. Jorgensen’s winning time on Saturday -- 1:56:02 -- was one second faster than Jenkins’ winning time in Gold Coast.
The second-highest U.S. finisher was Katie Zaferes in sixth place. Jorgensen, True and Zaferes are the only active U.S. women to make a World Triathlon Series podium, all having done so at least five times in the last two years, but only Jorgensen and True have clinched Olympic spots.
Zaferes will be the third Olympian unless USA Triathlon opts for a lesser-accomplished domestique for the final Rio spot.
Maloy was the top American in the men’s race in 11th place on Saturday. All three U.S. Olympic team men’s members are first-time Olympians.
An American man has never won an Olympic triathlon medal, and no U.S. man has made the podium of a World Series event since 2009.