U.S. Olympic gold medalist Gwen Jorgensen has announced her plans to officially transition from professional Triathlon and pursue a medal at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics in the Marathon.
Jorgensen earned the United States’ first-ever Olympic gold medal in the sport of Triathlon at Rio Olympics 2016, and did not compete in the 2017 season to give birth to her first child in August. Shortly after the Olympic Games, Jorgensen announced her plans to run the New York City Marathon and placed 14th in the elite women’s field with a time of 2:41:01, in racing in her first-ever marathon.
“Gwen will be forever remembered crossing the finish line in Rio to claim the gold medal at the 2016 Olympics, a true watershed moment in the history of USA Triathlon,” said Barry Siff, President of the USA Triathlon Board of Directors.
As the heavy favourite in Rio, Jorgensen outran defending Olympic champion Nicola Spirig of Switzerland and claimed the gold medal, becoming USA Triathlon’s first-ever Olympic champion. She covered the 1,500-meter swim, 40-kilometer bike and 10-kilometer run in 1 hour, 56 minutes, 16 seconds, crossing the line 40 seconds ahead of Spirig.
“USA Triathlon brought me into this sport, and now I’m incredibly privileged to step away at the top, with an Olympic gold medal. Though my near-future training will be focused on winning gold in the marathon in Tokyo, I will always be a part of the USA Triathlon family and look forward to embracing every opportunity to help grow the sport of triathlon. In fact, I hope this new adventure in running will play a big part in doing exactly that,” Jorgensen said.
Jorgensen pursued triathlon full-time in 2011, and launched her career with three International Triathlon Union (ITU) World Cup podiums and qualified for her first U.S. Olympic Team in 2012. Jorgensen went on to post a record-breaking 2014 season in which she became the first woman in ITU World Triathlon Series history to win eight career WTS events and five in one season.
Known for her strong run, it was a common sight for Jorgensen to make up significant deficits. In June of 2016, she overcame the largest deficit in ITU World Triathlon Series history in Leeds, England. Trailing Bermuda’s Flora Duffy by 1 minute, 40 seconds at the start of the run, she ran a 33:29 10k and won the race with a 51-second margin over Duffy.
Jorgensen leaves a legacy in the sport through the Gwen Jorgensen Scholarship, which she launched in 2014 to assist junior draft-legal triathletes and paratriathletes in their pursuit of excellence in the sport. More than $90,000 has been awarded to date in conjunction with the USA Triathlon Foundation, which contributes a matching grant. The recipients of the 2017 scholarship will be announced on Nov. 10. Gwen has also directly supported female development athletes by volunteering as a mentor coach at the USA Triathlon Junior Select Camp in Colorado Springs.