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Triathlon Community Names Gwen Jorgensen Champion Of Champions

By Chrös McDougall | March 28, 2020, 7:46 p.m. (ET)

Gwen Jorgensen competes at the Olympic Games Rio 2016 on Aug. 20, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.


The triathlon community has made its choice.

Gwen Jorgensen, the two-time world champ and reigning Olympic gold medalist, was voted champion of champions in a virtual March Madness style contest organized by World Triathlon.

The contest was one of many of this nature being organized in recent days as the sports world — and much of the world in general — has come to a halt in response to COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

The World Triathlon bracket started five days ago with 22 athletes. Jorgensen opened against Great Britain’s Non Stanford, the 2013 world champion, and then beat fellow American Karen Smyers, a world champ in both Olympic-distance and Ironman triathlons in the 1990s who had a first-round bye. Jorgensen then forged past Australia’s Emma Snowsill, a three-time world champ and 2008 Olympic champ, in the Elite 8 and then Bermuda’s two-time world champ Flora Duffy in the Final Four before closing things out against Great Britain’s Vicky Holland, the 2018 world champ and 2016 Olympic bronze medalist, in the final.

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In addition to Jorgensen and Smyers, the competition also included fellow Americans Siri Lindley, Sheila Taormina and Katie Zaferes, the defending world champion who is expected to be a favorite in the event when the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 take place next year. Zaferes had the next best showing among the Americans, advancing to the virtual Elite 8.

A former collegiate swimmer and runner at Wisconsin, Jorgensen took up triathlon after college and made her Olympic debut in 2012 in London. It was in the coming years when she broke out, using her blazing running speed to dominate the World Triathlon Series, which she won in 2014 and 2015, before becoming the first American to win the Olympic gold medal in the sport the following year in Rio. She was also twice named ITU Female Athlete of the Year. Since the 2016 Games Jorgensen has had her first child and turned her attention to running marathons and the 10,000-meter.

Fans can watch Jorgensen’s winning 2014 and 2015 WTS Grand Final races on triathlonLIVE.tv.

Chrös McDougall has covered the Olympic and Paralympic movements for TeamUSA.org since 2009 on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc. He is based in Minneapolis-St. Paul.

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Gwen Jorgensen