The world’s top Olympic-distance triathlete is making a full-time move to the marathon.
Gwen Jorgensen, ITU sensation and gold medallist at the 2016 Rio Olympics, announced her next career goal on Twitter this morning. After recently giving birth to her first child, Jorgensen took the 2017 season off. She has revealed that in her comeback to sport, she’ll be going after gold in the Olympic marathon.
The next cycle for the Summer Olympics is underway with Tokyo hosting the 2020 Games. Only one American – Joan Benoit – has won Olympic gold in the women’s marathon, the first time it was awarded in the Summer Games in 1984. Deena Kastor won bronze in 2004.
One year ago, Jorgensen, a former collegiate runner with powerhouse University of Wisconsin, made her marathon debut at the 2016 New York City Marathon where she clocked 2:41:01. She has been outspoken about her love for running, calling it her “favourite of the three” (swim, bike and run) and is arguably the fastest runner in short-course triathlon. Her PBs are 33:38.38 for 10,000m, 15:52.19 for 5,000m and 53:13 for 10 miles, the latter of which she ran to finish third at the U.S. 10-Mile Championships in 2016.
The Olympic women’s marathon has been won in a time faster than 2:30:00 in every instance except for 1992. Jorgensen has on occasions (see below) trained with members of the Bowerman Track Club, which includes Shalane Flanagan, the 2017 New York City Marathon champion.
In a press release from USA Triathlon, Jorgensen, 31, acknowledged this move as her official transition from elite triathlon to elite distance running.
“USA Triathlon brought me into this sport, and now I’m incredibly privileged to step away at the top, with an Olympic gold medal,” she says. “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.”
This story originally appeared at triathlonmagazine.ca