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The Source: Rio Gold Pushes US Triathlon To New Heights

André Motta/brasil2016.gov.br
Gwen Jorgensen (left) battles Switzerland's Nicola Spirig Gug (right) for position towards the end of the race

When Gwen Jorgensen crossed the finish line in Rio, becoming the first American to win gold in the Olympic event, one her former coaches was watching.

"I was so happy for Gwen," says Shelley O'Brien USA Triathlon Development Coach. "To see the event come together for her - and it was a great race. She tactically performed  her plan from start to finish," she continues

O'Brien helped coach Jorgensen in some of her earliest international competitions, and saw her go from questioning her path in athletics. If a future Olympic gold medalist can question pursuing the tri-athlete glory, than the lay person can be forgiven for giving the basic triathlon a try.

Triathlon races go from a sprint, which includes a half mile swim, 12.4 mile bike ride and a 3.1 mike run to a full which includes 2.4 miles of swimming, 112 miles of biking and 26.2 miles of running - or a marathon of running. With such a vast difference of skills, the first steps can be intimidating.  O'Brien says there are plenty of ways to get started, from local public pools with "Master Classes," to cycling and running groups. 


  • Shelley O'Brien, Elite Development Coach for USA Triathlon
Paul Flahive can be reached at Paul@tpr.org and on Twitter at @paulflahive