The U.S. once again proved it is the most dominant nation in women’s triathlon, sweeping the World Triathlon Series podium on Sunday in Edmonton, Alberta. This sweep, however, came without 17-time World Triathlon Series champion Gwen Jorgensen competing, who last month became the first American triathlete to win Olympic gold.
Instead, it was Summer Cook who led Team USA with the gold. Cook finished the sprint-distance course in 56 minutes, 49 seconds, to earn her first WTS podium finish. Her previous best performance on the sport’s most elite circuit was 14th at the Yokohama, Japan, stop in May. The 25-year-old also claimed her first world cup win earlier this year.
“For me, a lot of today was just finding the mental willpower to keep myself in the race and put myself in the position to have a strong result,” Cook said after the race, according to International Triathlon Union. “I DNF’d last year with hypothermia. I knew I had to come in today extra prepared for the conditions. I didn’t think I had a chance at all on the last curve on the last lap and then I started to believe that I had a chance.”
Joining Cook was podium regulars and 2016 Olympians Sarah True and Katie Zaferes. True crossed three seconds behind Cook in 56:52 for silver, with Zaferes finishing in 56:56 and earning bronze.
The Edmonton podium marked the fourth sweep by any nation in the series’ seven-year history. The Australian women first swept in 2011, then the U.S. women did so twice in 2015. In April 2015, Jorgensen, True and Zaferes went 1-2-3 in Gold Coast, Australia; one month later, Jorgensen again led the sweep, with Zaferes taking second and True third in London.
True’s silver medal marked redemption as the 34-year-old winds down a rough season. The three-time world championship medalist failed to podium at any of her previous five World Triathlon Series starts this season and was unable to finish the Olympic race. In Rio, she suffered knee pain coming out of the water and stopped on the bike, being pulled from the race by officials.
“I knew I had some fitness. It was a question of whether or not my body was going to be able to handle racing,” True said of the Edmonton race. “As an athlete, you never want to start a race not knowing if you can get through it. I was pleased I could get through and more pleased that I could show a bit of fitness. I’ve had a pretty difficult year and it was nice to have a result that I’m pretty proud of.”
Zaferes’ bronze in Edmonton is her eighth career World Triathlon Series medal and second this season. She won her first WTS gold in Hamburg, Germany, one month before finishing 18th in her Olympic debut.
All three U.S. women, plus Jorgensen, will compete at the ITU Grand Final, which determines world championships medalists based on WTS points from the entire season, on Sept. 17 in Cozumel, Mexico. Jorgensen will look to become the first woman in the sport to win three straight world titles.