Meet Ben Kanute

By Sarah Wassner Flynn | Aug. 03, 2016, 4:12 a.m. (ET)

Age: 23
Hometown: Geneva, Illinois
Current ranking: 53
Career highlights: 2016 Clermont CAMTRI Sprint Triathlon American Cup Champion; 2015 USA Triathlon Elite National Champion; 2nd, 2014 Tongyeong ITU World Cup; 9th, 2015 ITU World Triathlon Auckland; 2013 USA Triathlon Collegiate National Champion; USA Triathlon Junior Elite National Champion (2010, 2008)

As one of the youngest athletes in the field, Kanute grew up idolizing some of the Olympians he’ll square off against in Rio. But that doesn’t mean he’s intimidated by his older — and more experienced — competition. “I try to see myself as an equal with everyone because if you put them up on another level, it makes it hard to compete against them,” the University of Arizona grad explains. “As a professional, there are no age groups.” What he lacks in years, the Tucson-based triathlete makes up in gutsy and aggressive racing — he’s known to make daring breakaway moves on the bike to build a cushion on the run. So it’ll come as no surprise if Kanute jumps into the lead in Rio early on. “The course suits me very well. It’s challenging, but I look forward to taking advantage of my strength on the bike,” he says. “And doing it while wearing the stars and stripes suit will be incredible.”

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Ben Kanute

Ben Kanute

Ben Kanute