With the Paris Olympic Games looming large on the horizon, a number of triathlon’s top short-course athletes are entering the crucial final phase of qualifying, with the remaining slots for every nation set to be filled over the next six months.
Despite being a former Olympic Champion, American Gwen Jorgensen still has to qualify just like everyone else, something that has been made harder by her six-year hiatus from the sport before returning at the beginning of last season.
In a brilliant interview with perennial triathlon legend Mark Allen, Jorgensen speaks about her qualification prospects, the factors that are now driving her and why this time around is different.
“My purpose is about inspiring others”
Having already achieved the pinnacle in short course triathlon, it seems natural to wonder what Jorgensen is hoping to get out of her return to the sport. For starters, the Boulder based pro says, she has a completely different purpose this time around.
“When I retired in 2016, I felt like I had accomplished all my goals. This time around I’m going after the same thing, but it’s for completely different reasons and with a different purpose. I call this journey that I’m on my version 2.0.
“I’m not the same person I was in Rio. Back in 2015, 2016, it was all about winning gold. I didn’t really dive into the ‘why’. This time around, I’ve spent a lot of time on a mission statement. It’s all about my ‘why’ and my purpose.
“That’s what keeps me motivated. I think if I had done that back in 2016, I possibly could have continued through because it would have had meaning beyond just the end piece of metal.
“This time my purpose is about inspiring others, not only other mothers, but my family and showing them that we can do hard things. It’s showing them about being bold, being courageous and having integrity and character.”
Trusting the process
For Jorgensen, it’s important that she doesn’t compare herself to the athlete or person she was in the build up to Rio. Focusing on her ‘why’, she says, is what keeps her happy.
“A big portion of this whole journey is about being bold and just putting myself out there and knowing where I’m at right now and judging myself on where I’m at each day, not where I was seven years ago.
“And yes, I know it’s good and important to have outcome goals. But I am so much happier having a reason and purpose behind those goals.”