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Gwen Jorgensen Becomes First US Woman To Win Triathlon At Olympics

23 August 2016

It was the last race for both women before the 2016 Olympics.

As she wobbled along on a flat tire four years ago in London, Gwen Jorgensen promised to turn that heartbreak at Hyde Park into a conquering of Copacabana Beach at the Rio Games. Jorgensen won the gold after coming in on top for the women's individual triathlon event on Saturday morning.

The head to head between the reigning world champion and defending Olympic champion made for incredible theater. "I said "I'm not sure" and they said; 'well just try out while you're working.' I tried it out and I fell in love". I had to put out of my mind the fact that we are housemates because that's not the way you race. But it was apt for Spirig. I moved in with Non at the end of 2013 and I've become an exponentially better athlete because of it.

Jorgensen already has deals with Asics, Oakley and her former employer Ernst & Young and can count on many more to come.

"Her competition knows they've got one or two critical moments to put Gwen on the ropes and put the nail in the coffin", said Patrick Lemieux, Jorgensen's husband and a member of her support team.

But on the bike leg, Spirig initiated her race plan.

"I keep crying for some reason", she said.

Spirig surrendered the gold but finished strong for the silver, 5 seconds ahead of a battle for the bronze.

Hewitt said the leading peloton was twice as big as she and Samuels wanted on a tough, hilly course. "We are absolutely racing other".

"It would have been nice to get a breakaway", said Spirig. "She's been completely gracious this whole way through and I know she'll continue to be because she's a star".

Actually, it may have been that strategy that helped Jorgensen win gold.

She finished atop a field of 56 triathletes, who wound from the water to their bikes to a run to the finish.

The 30-year-old American credited her part-time training regime since 2012 with Australian coach Jamie Turner and the Wollongong Wizards for sharpening her form.

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Four years after the closest finish in Olympic triathlon history - Rio de Janeiro has just witnessed the most convincing. "It was more of a preview, I think".

Still, the women in the lead group must have been dumbfounded seeing Spirig control the race.

It's widely believed that her rivals will need around a minute advantage going into the run to stand a chance of holding her off.

What time is the Olympic triathlon on TV?

They took turns drafting until the final 2 kilometres, when they exchanged words and Jorgensen took off.

Then there was the crash and a DNF in Abu Dhabi in March.

Jorgensen finished the event with a time of 1:56.16.

Asked what she'll do now, Jorgensen smiled.

"We never even thought about that", Brett Sutton said.

"Right now I'm just trying to enjoy this moment", she said. "She was playing a bit of a game, I was playing a little bit". The important thing, she said, is supporting a local athlete during one of their greatest achievements.

Way to go, Gwen!

A freelance writer based in Vermont, Peggy Shinn is in Rio covering her fourth Olympic Games.

As for Jorgensen, who knows. In 2012 she competed for the U.S. Olympic Team in London. "So, I was happy to hang with that group when there were times when I was definitely off the back", Zaferes said. "But I have zero plays for August 21st, so wait and find out".