True, Jorgensen and Zaferes. Three worthy selections for Team USA at the 2016 Olympics.
In 2000 the world’s in form female triathlete, Siri Lindley, watched the Olympics from the sidelines. The USA’s best and only chance for a Gold medal left off the team because of an absurd selection policy which picked athletes lightyears ahead of the actual race day.
16 years and 0 wins later they still haven’t learned.
After the drawn out procedure seen in selecting the USA’s third and final female candidate nearly nine months after the first two spots, I have been asked for my view on Olympics selection:
Quite simple. It is totally ridiculous to select athletes more than a year out before the actual race.
Even a child would find such a policy idiotic. Yet administrators within the sport continue to waste spots and dash the hopes of in form athletes in the name of political expediency and the protection of their own jobs.
In a sensible world you would not select any triathlete before the very last day of the official Olympic deadline.
Triathlon form comes and goes at an astonishingly fast rate.
It is the nature of the combined three sports that make it so vulnerable to such a loss of form. The three sports also leaves a much greater opportunity for injury to derail a campaign.
History has shown it at every Olympics to date. Including at Rio where two of the medal favourites in the men’s and women’s field are racing the clock to be swim fit enough to participate, let alone compete. Nicola’s (Spirig) goals totally downgraded in an instant of an MRI scan and Richard Murray recovering from a broken collarbone following bike crashes.
Cruel? Yes, but that’s the reality of sport.
However, the question is has the USA’s decision to include a worthy Olympian in Katie Zaferes as their third team member enhanced or diminished their opportunity to take the gold?
I would think that they have made a mistake is obvious to anyone with any understanding of the sport. At the recent WTS Gold Coast a group of three, including a pint-sized Andrea Hewitt, with alarming ease were able to break away and ride a minute and a half into the main pack on a technical course.
Rio is going to be a non-wetsuit, rough water swim followed by a technical bike course. The chances of a swim or bike break are extremely high. There’s going to be one.
The question now is if the American favourite was to find herself off the back of this break who of her team-mates would be willing (or able) to drop back to ride her into contention? Or does having three legitimate medal contenders mean the other two go for individual glory?
In which case, would they be able to outrun Helen Jenkins?
I’ll let you make up your own minds.
But USAT, having come to the politically correct decision of picking three athletes with the same strengths and weaknesses have again left themselves vulnerable to missing out on an Olympic gold medal should the race play out that way.
An unnecessary gamble which selectors should have been looking at strategies to avoid since August 8, 2012.
The new favourite for the Olympic Games is Helen Jenkins of Great Britain. She swims very strong, has excellent bike skills, climbs and descends well. In form she’s the fastest break runner and also has a great coach.
We will see how it plays out, but that is the new way to bet.