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DYNASTY

Ask anyone familiar with the World Triathlon Series about 2015, and you'll hear one name repeated over and over again: Gwen Jorgensen. After all, while it's rare to use words like "perfect" without hyperbole, of her 11 WTS starts, she had 11 wins. Join us as we take a look back on her perfect year.

Dominance in sport is a funny thing. On one hand, it’s impressive to watch a team or individual display mastery in their field, but on the other hand, fans rarely enjoy victory when it seems to be a foregone conclusion. For Gwen Jorgensen, however, none of this really matters, as she possesses a rare bit of character that places her in elite company. And as the reigning World Triathlon Series (WTS) World Champion, Gwen’s been more than dominant this year—she’s been perfect, winning all of her last 11 WTS starts. Impressively, she remains the WTS Series leader, even after taking a few events off to rest up for later in the season. Yet, in spite of this record-breaking run of victories, there’s an accomplishment that still beckons: Gold still looms brightly on the horizon.

Triathlon is a sport that demands dedication and consistency—consistency in training, consistency in nutrition, and of course, consistency in three different disciplines. After all, the world’s best runners can’t make up the deficit incurred from a poor swim and bike leg. But perhaps what makes triathlon so fascinating is just how taxing the toll on the body is. A race day for Gwen sees her completing a 1500-metre swim that’s followed by a 40-kilometere draft-legal bike portion, all before finishing with a 10-kilometere run. And while these are nowhere near the monumental distances made famous by Ironman® competitions, the shorter format calls for blistering speeds, while ensuring that tactics and sheer strength play vital roles in any victory. At the 2012 London Olympics, Gwen was in form and in pursuit of a gold medal. Unfortunately, though, a flat tyre in the middle of the bike leg deflated her hopes of a podium spot. But here’s the funny thing about champions—for them, heartbreaking moments of failure often lay the foundation for the purest forms of motivation. In Gwen’s case, it led to the most dominant run of consecutive victories that the triathlon world has ever seen.

In spite of the sheer dominance that Gwen’s demonstrated for the last two years, there’s a different motivation that’s propelling her forward. The Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil will be a race of redemption for Gwen, and she’s strategically planned her race calendar to place her in the best possible physical condition to fight for the Gold. Her unrelenting pace has already qualified her to be a part of the Olympic team, ensuring that she can devote more time to training and less time to worrying about making the team.

THE FUNNY THING ABOUT CHAMPIONS– FOR THEM, HEARTBREAKING MOMENTS OF FAILURE OFTEN LAY THE FOUNDATION FOR THE PUREST FORMS OF MOTIVATION.

It’s a long way from what life used to look like for Gwen. Finishing up her last year of college, she had a job lined up with a large accounting firm, and she was coming to terms with adjusting for life with a professional career. However, a USA Triathlon coach recognised her athletic talents and pushed her to give the sport a try. Good for Gwen—not so much for her competitors. Perhaps it’s her relatively short relationship with triathlon that’s made her such a formidable force? Without the preconceived notions of how she “should” race, she’s free to do what feels natural. And for Gwen, what feels natural is winning.

What’s just as impressive as Gwen’s ability to win is the way in which she does it. A former track and field athlete in college, she’s worked tirelessly to improve her performances in both the swim and bike portions, the latter of which features a draftlegal bike portion that’s unique to ITU. Normally, triathlon bike legs are dominated by aero helmets, disc wheels, and optimized aerodynamic positions that are incorporated to combat the wind. In ITU races, however, the bikes are more similar to what you would find in a crit or road race, and the courses that the athletes cover are much more technical. These differences don’t just demand bike fitness, but they also require bike handling skills to be far more tuned. In other words, a bike leg becomes less a display of pure physical prowess and more a clinic in overall bike racing. Gwen’s custom S-Works Amira is the perfect option for just such a race.

WITHOUT THE PRECONCEIVED NOTIONS OF HOW SHE “SHOULD” RACE, SHE’S FREE TO DO WHAT FEELS NATURAL. AND FOR GWEN, WHAT FEELS NATURAL IS WINNING.

When the world’s fastest women line up in Brazil, there’ll be more than just the iconic hills and beaches behind them. For Gwen, there will be the years of sacrifice, hard work, and the disappointment of a missed opportunity in London. The Olympics are the sporting world’s grandest stage, creating heroes just as quickly as it can dash the hopes of those competing. Four years of training, racing, and preparing will all boil down to a single day in August. For two hours, Gwen will have to shut out every part of her body telling her to stop. And in order to win Gold, she’ll need to pull on every ounce of experience that she’s had in the past four years to help motivate her to push beyond what her brain considers possible. Most importantly, though, if she hopes to win, she’ll have to race like the Gwen Jorgensen that the world has gotten accustomed to these past two years. There’s no better practice in the world than winning everything in sight.