Gwen Jorgensen, who in 2016 became the first U.S. Olympic triathlon gold medalist and then switched to distance running, is going back to triathlon for a 2024 Olympic bid.
Jorgensen, 36, said she was motivated to do triathlon again by watching the U.S. team that won a silver medal in the first Olympic mixed-gender triathlon relay in Tokyo.
“It’s going to be hard to come back,” Jorgensen said. “I’m also getting older, and a lot of times they say you lose your speed when you get older, but I think that’s a myth, and I want to prove that wrong.”
Jorgensen was arguably the most dominant triathlete in history in the Rio Olympic cycle, winning a record 13 consecutive top-level events — going undefeated for nearly two years — en route to her gold medal.
Then in 2017, she had baby Stanley and, having accomplished every triathlon goal, announced a switch to the marathon with a goal to win the Olympic marathon.
She moved from Minnesota to Oregon. She ran two marathons, placing 13th in New York City in November 2016 in 2:41:01 off triathlon training and then 11th in Chicago in October 2018 in 2:36:23 after a weeklong fever. She didn’t race at all in 2019, sidelined by heel pain, and then opted not to race the Olympic marathon trials in February 2020.
Jorgensen had her second child, George, in October.
The U.S. can qualify up to three women in 2024 for the Paris Games. This past season, the U.S. had the world’s third-, fourth- and 12th-ranked triathletes (Taylor Knibb, Taylor Spivey and Kirsten Kasper). Katie Zaferes, the Tokyo Olympic bronze medalist, said last month that she plans to return to racing in 2023 for the first time since 2021. She had son Kimble this past July 7.
The next World Triathlon Championship Series season starts in mid-May. Jorgensen will be 38 come the Paris Games, older than any previous U.S. Olympic triathlete, according to Olympedia.org.
“I’m probably going to be forced to race earlier than I’d like to, before I’m fit, before I’m kind of totally ready,” Jorgensen said. “But I’ve just got to dive in and get it started.”
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