With only 100 days until the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Olympic Games, we asked some of our Olympic hopefuls about their life outside of triathlon and what they’re looking forward to most in Rio.
USA Triathlon: What is an unusual ritual or superstition you have to do before every race?
Ben Kanute: One thing I never do is cross the finish line before the race starts. I also never wear the race T-shirt until after I finish the race. Both are just some common bad juju things to do.
Kirsten Kasper: I wear my Georgetown socks (black high socks with a G on the side) for warm-up before every race! I used to race in the Georgetown socks when I ran track at Georgetown University. I am proud to be a Hoya and having been a member of the Georgetown University track team holds a special place in my heart. So wearing the socks for warm-up on race day allows me to have a piece of Gtown with me.
Greg Billington: Whether it's unusual or not, I've removed any kind of ritual from my pre-race routine. I've had enough of the unexpected happen to know that at any moment I'll need to adapt my routine to the unexpected mudslides or missing bicycles of many triathlons. Except coffee, I must have coffee.
Renée Tomlin: I always have to brush my teeth before leaving the hotel room to head down to the race site. In college, I used to bring my toothbrush and toothpaste with me to races. Sometimes that meant brushing my teeth outside next to our tarp with a water bottle along side the cross country course. And sometimes that meant brushing them in the public restroom of the NYC Armory or Philadelphia’s Franklin Field.
Joe Maloy: During my warm-up on the swim course, I always like to take a minute or so to just float there and look at the land. I would do this all the time swimming on the beach in my hometown, Wildwood Crest, New Jersey. I look to the shore and take a minute to appreciate where I am and the opportunity in front of me.
Katie Zaferes: Nervous faces: making the most heinous faces with my friend Lindsey Jerdonek to make fun of the nerves and help relax us.
USAT: When you’re not training or racing, what are you doing?
BK: If I am not training or racing, I am doing something active! I love to hike, cruise around on a commuter bike or do some other type of outdoors sports. Other than that, I am frequenting the coffee shops in the town that I am in and meeting up with friends as much as possible.
KK: I love spending my free time with my family! When I get the chance to step away from training and racing, I enjoy going home to relax with my family and my dog Marley and to have the opportunity to see my friends.
GB: Reading, blogging or playing the piano. But mainly sleeping and eating. I've probably logged more calories in the last quad than I will for the entirety of my (eventual) retirement!
RT: I’m most likely eating, recovering, sleeping or traveling. Add a dash of email answering and other adult responsibilities (spending way too much time trying to figure out taxes). Some of my “triathlon escapes” include long phone calls with Mom, friends, the other-half and cooking.
JM: Odds are I'm sitting around a dinner table with my family — eating, drinking, talking and laughing.
KZ: Napping or sleeping.
USAT: If you make it to Rio, what are you looking forward to most outside of triathlon?
BK: I am looking forward to see a few of the sights! I think the city is going to be crazy during the games, and once the competition is over, I am going to throw myself into the thick of it! Also, I would love to check out any other events and the Closing Ceremony.
KK: Being a tourist and exploring Rio. I would love to take in the sights and tour the city with my family. Also, just the overall experience of being in Rio for the Olympic Games. I would like watch and cheer on Team USA at as many sporting events as I can.
GB: Taking time to travel and explore for reasons outside of just competing. It's hard to travel to so many incredible countries and just be confined to a hotel room while I prepare for competition.
RT: Wow, I’ve honestly not thought this far down the line! But, the first thought that comes to mind is if I made it to Rio, I’d most look forward to watching and cheering for members of the track & field team. I have a number of very close friends and former training partners who are in contention to make Team USA this July. It would be such great fun to be reunited together again on the world’s biggest stage in our respective sports.
JM: The environment. I can't imagine the feeling of being an athlete representing his country at the world's greatest sporting event. I would just want to soak that in.
KZ: Probably all the long-distance running events because they’re some people who I actually know and competed against during college.