Hamburg, Germany: USA won their maiden title at the 2016 edition of ITU Triathlon Mixed Relay World Championships on Sunday as the relay team of Gwen Jorgensen, Ben Kanute, Kirsten Kasper and Joe Maloy earned the country its first gold medal.
In a triathlon race where each team member completed a 300-meter swim, 6.6-kilometer bike and 1.6-kilometer run to finish in 1 hour, 20 minutes, 29 seconds to finish at the highest step of the podium. Australia and Germany finished 29 seconds down from the U.S. in second and third, on a sprint finish for the silver and bronze medals. After winning a bronze medal in 2013, this was the second medal ever for the U.S. team since the mixed team format was introduced in 2009.
Leading off the first leg was Jorgensen (St. Paul, Minn.), riding with women from eight other nations: Brazil, France, Great Britain, South Africa, Germany, Japan, Russia and Netherlands. Though the women rode together over the 6.6k bike course, Jorgensen began to open a gap early on the run and was the first woman from the first leg to tag the next team member.
In the swimming phase, Kanute (Geneva, Ill.) and Jorgensen posted the fastest times of the day – 19:09 for Kanute, and 20:03 for Jorgensen – which gave the U.S. the advantage it needed to maintain the lead through the rest of the race.
Speaking post the race, Kanute said, “I just went as hard as I could. On the bike, I was feeling really good, and me and Raphael weren’t working the best together, so I punched it through a few corners and just found myself on the front. I just went after it.”
Then was Kasper (North Andover, Mass.) to hit the water, as she increased her gap into the first transition by 1 minute, and then she had to hold off six women who were riding in a group behind her trying to make up the time and close the gap. And Maloy (Wildwood Crest, N.J.) also completed his leg of the race alone, maintaining a distance of nearly 30 seconds into the final finish straight to clinch the gold medal and the world title for the U.S.
Speaking post the win, Maloy said, “The key word is team. I crossed the line but we shook hands in between legs, and I couldn’t have done it without these guys.”
Maloy added further about the team spirit, “We compete all the time individually, and it’s nice to group up. There’s a lot behind the scenes that goes on with camaraderie and this is kind of a visual example of it, which is really cool.”
Zaferes (who won gold the other day), Jorgensen, Kanute and Maloy are four of the six members of the U.S. Olympic Triathlon Team For the Rio 2016 Summer Games. The Summer Games will have triathlon competitions scheduled on Aug. 18 and 20.
Result of ITU Triathlon Mixed Relay World Championships
4x 300m swim, 6.6k bike, 1.6k run
1. United States (Gwen Jorgensen, Ben Kanute, Kirsten Kasper, Joe Maloy), 1:20:29
2. Australia (Charlotte Mcshane, Jacob Birtwhistle, Emma Jackson, Ryan Bailie), 1:20:58
3. Germany (Laura Lindemann, Jonathan Jipf, Hanna Philippin, Gregor Buchholz), 1:20:58