Gwen Jorgensen‘s bid for an unprecedented third straight world title was denied by Bermuda’s Flora Duffy in the World Triathlon Series Grand Final in steamy Cozumel, Mexico, on Saturday.
Jorgensen, who on Aug. 20 became the first American to win an Olympic triathlon title, finished second to Duffy in the last competition of the season.
“I told myself at the beginning of the year I’d be happy if I won nothing but the Olympics, so I should be happy,” Jorgensen told the host broadcaster. “I’m obviously disappointed right now.”
Duffy came into Cozumel with a lead in the season-long world championship standings and the knowledge that she would clinch her first world title by finishing within one spot of Jorgensen on Saturday.
“I’m kind of speechless right now,” Duffy said. “I have no idea how that happened. You always hope and wish and train for the perfect day. The perfect day came exactly when I needed it, when the pressure was on.”
Jorgensen, who won 13 straight top-level triathlons in 2014 and 2015, faced the deficit in large part because she skipped half of the eight previous World Series races this season.
The best way to accumulate points toward the world title is to add up one’s top five finishes in World Series races, plus the Grand Final. Because she competed in not five but four World Series races before the Grand Final, Jorgensen had to count fewer points from a lower-level World Cup race.
Jorgensen was trying to become the first woman to win three straight world titles and the second to win three titles overall, joining Australian Emma Snowsill.
Jorgensen has expressed a desire to start a family, but she has at least two more competitions lined up this fall: a three-day triathlon stage race in the Bahamas from Oct. 28-30, followed by her marathon debut at the New York City Marathon the following weekend.Follow @nzaccardi