USA Triathlon News Articles Q&A with the Men’s T...

Q&A with the Men’s Triathlon Team

By Cassandra Johnson | Aug. 17, 2016, 7:38 p.m. (ET)

Which U.S. Olympic Team Member would be a bat conservationist if he wasn’t a triathlete? Who enjoys starting the day with a good cup of coffee [hint: all of them], and who owns a pair of jeans in every color? Get to know elite triathletes Greg Billington, Joe Maloy and Ben Kanute off the racecourse before they represent the United States in the men’s Olympic triathlon on Aug. 18.

joe maloyUSA Triathlon: Who was most influential in helping you achieve your dreams?
Joe Maloy: My brother, John. He and I are competitive with each other, but it's a healthy kind of competitive. Every time one of us achieves something, the other believes in himself a little more to do the same. We push each other to be the best versions of ourselves.

USAT: What’s a typical day of training like for you?
Ben Kanute: It changes so much from day to day, week to week, and month to month. I would say on average though I am doing at least two workouts a day (swim, bike or run), and then adding in strength, about twice a week. Stretching, massage and recovery are all thrown in there. I usually wake up around 6-8 a.m. and am asleep by about 10 p.m. My daily goals are to hit my workouts and be better than the day before.

USAT: If you were not an athlete, what would you like to be doing?
Greg Billington: Aside from being overweight, I think I would have gone with my original aspiration of being a bat conservationist.

USAT: When you have time off, what would constitute a perfect day for you?
JM: A cup of coffee with a good book, a swim in the ocean, some type of competitive game, doing something good for someone, a home-cooked dinner with family and friends, then good conversation and a few drinks.

USAT: How influential were your parents in your athletic career?
BK: My parents are my biggest supporters and biggest fans! My mom knows all about triathlon, its point systems, rules, and who is who! She loves talking about the different races, strategies, etc. Both her and my dad are IRONMAN finishers, and have loved the sport of triathlon well before I started. My dad is just as into triathlon as my mom, but in a slightly different way. If I had to give him a specialty, it would be the mental game. He is great at focusing in on what’s important and really good at getting my mind in the right place for practices or races! They both have done everything in their power to help me be a successful triathlete.

greg billington

USAT: What are your pre-competition rituals?
GB: Wake up, easy jog or ride, then a simple breakfast followed by watching an inspirational movie (such as “Rocky”). Then a bunch of caffeine, and the real warm-up starts before competition and I get my pre-race playlist out — bring on the GnR, Journey, Eminem and Springsteen!

USAT: What’s something people may not know about you?
JM: I can be very absentminded and forgetful. I've had to sprint to the starting line of a race because I forgot the timing chip in my transition bag (and then won the race); recorded my first "A" standard time in my brother's swimsuit and goggles (because I'd forgotten mine).

USAT: What would people be surprised to learn about training for the Olympic Games?
BK: We probably spend just as much time if not more recovering than we do actually training. It is probably more important than the physical training. And I would put mental training right up there too with importance!

USAT: Tell us about your nutrition plan.
GB: Vast quantities of food. Pancakes for breakfast with berries. Sports drinks and bars at most workouts. Lots of spinach, sweet potatoes, yogurt, milk and probiotics. Baked potato chips if the day is hot and I sweat a lot — I salt almost everything. Lots of rice and chicken and eggs. It has to be a steady stream of food or I get injured.

ben kanute

USAT: What are you looking forward to in Rio outside of racing?
JM: I was there last August for the test event, but that was my first time. I really want to make it to the Christ the Redeemer statue this time! 

USAT: Tell us something quirky about yourself.
BK: You may find my love of coffee amusing. It is a bit hipsterish. Also, I have a pair of jeans in most colors. That is definitely an odd fact, maybe not about myself, but about my wardrobe. They don't make appearances too often, but they do occasionally.

USAT: How did growing up overseas impact your journey?
GB: My dad taught on a military base in England and Japan for around 18 years. Growing up in a foreign country made me think about representing America everyday of my childhood. I wanted to emulate the best of what America stood for, and that desire has stayed me. I compete for the opportunity to represent America as best as I can.

Watch the men’s Olympic triathlon live on Aug. 18 at 10 a.m. ET on USA Network or nbcolympics.com. Find more Olympic Games coverage on usatriathlon.org/rio2016.