Best Quotes of 2017

By USA Triathlon | Dec. 15, 2017, 10:28 p.m. (ET)

With a packed calendar of USA Triathlon National Championships, the first-ever ITU Multisport World Championships Festival, the ITU World Triathlon Grand Final in Rotterdam and even a U.S.-hosted ITU World Cup, American athletes put on strong performances time and time again in 2017. Here are some of the top quotes spoken by athletes and other members of the multisport community this year:

“It’s an incredible experience to have a sport like this at the high school level. It’s really nice to have people who are my age that I can connect with, and there’s so much opportunity.”
— Audrey Ernst after winning the 2017 USA Triathlon High School National Championship title

“Having raced the Mixed Team Relay at Major League Triathlon events across the U.S. and internationally at the 2016 Mixed Team Relay World Championships, I can attest that it is one of the most fun race formats in the sport. With multiple lead changes, all-out racing and unpredictable outcomes, the event will be a hit for racers and spectators alike.”
— Ben Kanute on Triathlon Mixed Relay’s addition to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic program


“I am beyond thrilled, I wasn’t expecting it at all. I just am so happy that all of my hard work has paid off and it came together today. Making that front pack with Flora was key, she is just so strong and technically amazing. I really had to push to stay on her wheel because I’m not as technically strong as her, but I am just so happy I managed to pull it together today.”
— Taylor Spivey after winning her first World Triathlon Series medal, a silver, in Leeds


“It’s an emotional experience. It’s been a long journey. I knew [the sweep] was there, but I knew it was going to take work to pull it out. It wasn’t easy. It’s a really short time to recover, so it’s important to make sure you’re doing all those little things to recover as best as possible. When your Garmin is saying your recovery check is ‘poor’ going into a race, you’re like, ‘Well, there’s nothing I can do about it!’ You just have to gut it out.”
— Danielle Dingman after completing her sweep of the USA Triathlon Long Course, Standard-Distance and Sprint-Distance Duathlon National Championship titles


“It’s funny because I still think of myself as the new kid on the block, but sometimes I have to remind myself that there are people here who are looking up to what I’m doing, and that’s an honor. I’ve had so many mentors who have paved the way for me, and I look to them all the time for inspiration on how to carry myself. They were the role models who shaped who I am, and I hope that I can be that same presence for other people.”
— Hailey Danz after winning the PTS2 title at the USA Paratriathlon National Championships


“At our last race in Sarasota, Andre was sick at the finish line and was kind of keeling over, so today I thought he was in bad shape again when he got down on one knee. I was asking him, ‘Are you okay? What are you doing on the ground?’, and then I heard him say, ‘Will you marry me?’ This is kind of my hometown, so having my family here and Andre here, I knew it was going to be an amazing day — but obviously, this made it even more amazing.”
— Andrea Walton on getting engaged to fellow paratriathlete Andre Cilliers at the finish line of the USA Paratriathlon National Championships in Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin


“At age 58 and 335 pounds, I secretly daydreamed about participating in a triathlon. At the time, I couldn’t even put on my own shoes. That daydream gave purpose to my dieting and exercise, and I ended up losing 200 pounds. I continue in triathlon for several reasons. First, I discovered that I love being athletic and enjoy competing. I find great satisfaction in working every day to be the best that I can be. Second, I love the feeling of being ten years old again as I swim, bike, and run just for joy! Third, I love being part of the triathlon community — a group of happy, kind, and fun folks!”
— Sue Reynolds’ winning submission to earn a USA Triathlon Membership for Life during National Triathlon Week


“I think it’s something special to be able to share this with teammates. Triathlon’s a very individual sport, and it means a lot to me to be able to do this with a team I can call family.”
— Kyleigh Spearing after earning a Mixed Team Relay national title with Z3 Junior Triathlon Team at the USA Triathlon Youth & Junior National Championships


“I wasn’t really sure how close I was to the overall, but my dad was out there saying, ‘Every second counts! I wasn’t expecting the rain, so that’s where the mental aspect comes in, just finding your own zone, enjoying the day and seeing all the amazing athletes that are out there.”
— Kirsten Sass after earning the women’s overall title at the USA Triathlon Age Group Sprint National Championships


“I’ve been trying to get here for 17 years. I signed up multiple times and never made it because of various injuries, so this is my first Age Group Nationals since 1998. I’ve had four Achilles tendon surgeries, so this was the first year I’ve gone through a training block with no injuries. I got no sleep last night thinking about the race, just thinking, ‘I can’t believe I made it here. I can’t believe I’m really going to start.’”
— Robert Skaggs after winning the men’s 50-54 title at the USA Triathlon Olympic-Distance Age Group National Championships


“The experience was amazing, just getting to see all my friends who I maybe only see once a year. This is one of those days I look forward to every year. When somebody asks me, ‘Why do you do this when it’s so hard and takes so much time?” It’s like, ‘This is when we get to dance on our stage. This is when we get to play a symphony together. This is when we get to show what it is that’s inside of us and put it all out there.’”
— Ellen Hart after placing fourth for women 55-59 at Olympic-Distance Age Group Nationals


“I engaged in the race early and went for it, and I will never regret competing and coming up short. It was great to have so much support from all the age groupers and fans. Eighteenth was off the mark of what I was aiming for, but I'm thankful to have experienced my first World Championships and learn the hard lessons that only come from racing at the highest level of sport.”
— Robby Webster after placing 18th in the elite field at the ITU Standard Duathlon World Championships, part of the inaugural ITU Multisport World Championships Festival


“To be included in the fourth induction class of the ITU Hall of Fame amongst the legends in our sport whom I have had the pleasure of racing against is something that still hasn’t sunk in. When I got the call about the induction, I was truly shocked and immensely humbled. I told my husband Loren, who was my coach and manager and sharer of the journey, that this honor is as much his as it is mine. It’s for Team Lindquist. I’ve never been one to think about my place in ITU history, so to have my contribution to the sport — both from my racing days and my recruiting of the next generation of Olympians — acknowledged by the ITU is such an honor.”
— 2004 U.S. Olympian and USA Collegiate Recruitment Program Manager Barb Lindquist on her induction into the ITU Hall of Fame


“This (win) might be the sweetest one yet, totally unexpected. To see Tamara achieve this with so much passion and conviction — it’s such an overwhelming feeling that I have for her happiness. I think everybody here that’s racing has a lot of grit, but speaking from experience coaching Tamara, she doesn’t let things get to her. She just accepts the conditions, and she always has. I don’t think she’s ever won a big title without it being really adverse conditions.”
— Jenny Weber, coach of 2017 U23 World Champion Tamara Gorman after a rainy world championship race in Rotterdam


“Being here and having the camaraderie of the team, and seeing athletes from all over the world, you just realize what a greater community it is. When we’re in the U.S., we’re competing against each other on different teams and clubs. Being here, seeing someone from your own country and having solidarity in that way really builds the team spirit.”
— Madeleine Pesch, women’s 20-24 silver medalist at the ITU Age Group Sprint Triathlon World Championships


“It’s a great opportunity to represent the Army as a soldier, but also represent the United States here in another way,” Armstrong said. “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I can’t thank the Army enough, and I can’t thank USA Triathlon enough for supporting me and helping me to get where I am now. I’m going to keep pressing forward.”
— U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Allan Armstrong after taking silver at the Sarasota-Bradenton ITU Paratriathlon World Cup


“It’s definitely full-circle for me to be here. I competed at a number of NCAA championships in track & field and cross-country for Georgetown University, but now to be able to contribute in the sport of triathlon, it means a lot to me,” Tomlin said. “To be able to watch this sport grow and see what these women are now able to do, it’s just really cool. Maybe not all of these girls are thinking that they’ll go compete in the Olympics someday, but slowly over time, opportunities will present themselves that otherwise wouldn’t.”
— Renée Tomlin on serving as an announcer at the Women’s Collegiate Triathlon National Championship in Tempe


“USA Triathlon brought me into this sport, and now I’m incredibly privileged to step away at the top, with an Olympic gold medal. Though my near-future training will be focused on winning gold in the marathon in Tokyo, I will always be a part of the USA Triathlon family and look forward to embracing every opportunity to help grow the sport of triathlon. In fact, I hope this new adventure in running will play a big part in doing exactly that,”
— Gwen Jorgensen on her decision to transition from elite triathlon to marathon