USA Triathlon News Articles Best of 2020: Top Qu...

Best of 2020: Top Quotes

By USA Triathlon | Dec. 15, 2020, 7:11 p.m. (ET)

In triathlon, as in every aspect of our lives, 2020 was a year like no other. Even as the race calendar was upended, the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics postponed and the future made so uncertain, the multisport community persevered. Our athletes found personal growth during quarantine, stood up for what they believed in, made a difference in their communities and had some fun along the way. 

Here are some of the most memorable and most moving quotes spoken by U.S. elite athletes and other members of the multisport community this year:

“Right now, in the state of the world, it is neither safe nor sensible for the Olympics to go on as planned. I would much prefer for the Olympics to be rescheduled for a time when everyone is safe, comfortable, happy and able to focus on training and racing; rather than the current state of feeling the need to prioritize sport over being in a place with a feeling of security with the people you love and care about. I thank the International Olympic Committee, U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee and all the National Governing Bodies for putting everybody’s well-being first. So, my new hope and dream is that the Tokyo Olympics will happen, I’ll get to be at them, and it will be the first time the world is reuniting and coming together after overcoming such a challenging time together.”
— Katie Zaferes, 2016 U.S. Olympian, 2019 World Champion and Tokyo Hopeful, on the postponement of the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020, March 24

“Over the weekend, I took part in the coolest thing I’ve ever done on a bike. A team relay across the state of Colorado from sunset to sunset with an awesome group of people! It was fun how amped we got and how supportive we were of each other as we started each leg of the ride. It was fun to have those race sensations for the first time in a while. One highlight had to be night riding over a couple solid mountain passes where the stars lit up the sky like nothing I’ve ever seen before. We even saw the Milky Way — an experience I will never forget. Big thanks to everyone that helped support this event and make this possible! We have raised over $22,000 for the USA Triathlon Foundation COVID-19 Relief Fund and Care & Share Food Bank of Southern Colorado, which surpassed our goal of $20,210. I will be riding the high from this for a while now!”
— Kevin McDowell, Tokyo Olympic Hopeful, after participating in the Toyota U.S. Paratriathlon National Team's "Operation CO>COVID" Ride Across Colorado, June 25

“When we can't have the big wins, we need to make do with celebrating the small ones, the milestones and the daily grind. ⁠I am still hopeful for at least a few races this year where I can challenge for the top step again, but who really knows? One thing that pro sport has taught me though, is that even if you are on that podium — that's just a glimpse. What actually gets you there are the hours of work, daily sacrifices, and all the people who have helped along the way. This year more than ever that has felt true."
— Morgan Pearson, Tokyo Olympic Hopeful, July 22

“It’s hard to believe that today was supposed to be the Opening Ceremony of my first Olympic Games. Thus far, I’ve fared relatively well with the situation in the world, but still, the uncontrollably joyful emotions just after qualifying seem like something out of someone else’s life right now. I’m not sure what the future holds or when I’ll see a start line again, but every day I get out of bed and out the door with the dream of earning that feeling of accomplishment again. I’ll just keep doing my daily heat acclimatization sessions — thanks, North Carolina! — and looking forward to Tokyo 2021 and teammate hugs making their comeback.”
— Summer Rappaport, Qualified Tokyo U.S. Olympic Triathlon Team Member, July 24

"I am humbled, excited and elated to have been nominated by USA Triathlon and selected by the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee as their 2020 Rings of Gold – Individual Award Winner. I am even more excited to be the first to represent the great state of Maryland as an honoree. To the young Black and Brown girls and boys across the globe in the triathlon sport or those who have yet to enter the sport, there is so much untapped potential awaiting your unveiling. Never would I have ever imagined as a little Brown girl growing up in West Baltimore, Maryland, that my name one day would be synonymous with Olympic and Paralympic medalists and coaches. It just goes to show you that hard work does pay off.”
— Dr. Tekemia Dorsey, CEO, International Association of Black Triathletes, after winning the USOPC’s Ring of Gold Award, Oct. 5

“I have been battling complex, chronic illness since I began competing at the elite level … The only difference now is I am telling my story. Instead of hiding what I perceived as my weakness — chronic illness — I am showing the world how I have made it my strength. This past month has been absolutely gut-wrenching physically and mentally watching my teammates and competitors train while I have been in and out of ICU, in immense physical pain and stuck in bed … This time I reached out. I let people in. I stepped so far outside of my comfort zone and have received so much love, kindness and encouragement. The physical and emotional energy I spent carrying the burden of hiding a huge part of my life is slowly lifting off my shoulders as I share more of my story. So, this challenging time changes nothing. I will continue to wake up every day with the same stubborn tenacity I have always had. I will give everything I have every day I am given. I will continue to push myself to realize my goals. I will continue to fight for my dream of gold and my eyes are set on August.”
— Allysa Seely, 2016 U.S. Paralympic Gold Medalist and Tokyo Hopeful, Nov. 8

“IRONMAN. Goal set and achieved. Time to set a new and bigger goal for 2021. Whatever it is, the strategy is the same. 1% Better every day. Yes, I did the work, but I had angels helping me. God surrounded me with angels. Best part of all, new family and friends. All about awareness and inclusion. Awareness for Down Syndrome and Special Olympics. Inclusion for all of us with all of you.”
— Chris Nikic after becoming the first person with Down Syndrome to complete an IRONMAN, Nov. 8

“I aspire to be a flowing river. To live a life so authentic that I can be my comprehensive self wherever I go. But the truth is, I’ve spent much of my life building dams — constructing barriers that prevented me from flowing freely — in an attempt to hide my sexuality … But the problem with dams is that they can cause a lot of harm to the river itself. When the flow of the river is restricted, sediment builds up and compromises the quality of the water. It wasn’t until recently that I realized how much these dams were harming me. The time required to build them; the mental space needed to keep track of the reservoirs; the buildup of resentment; and the knowledge that I was restricting my own strength — strength that, if left uninhibited, could leave a canyon in its wake. So here I am, sharing that I’m gay not because I think it’s something that requires a public announcement, but because I can’t afford to waste any more energy building dams. Because I have far more important things to do with all that energy. I have destinations to discover. I have lives to nourish. I have canyons to create.”
— Hailey Danz, 2016 U.S. Paralympic Silver Medalist and Tokyo Hopeful, Nov. 23

“I really didn’t have any, ‘Oh, I’m going to end up in this place.’ I was just always trying to go after the next one. On the last lap I think I went from eighth to second — I guess that’s why they call it the money lap. It was definitely kind of a blur of a couple miles. I honestly didn’t know I was in second until I looked over and saw a truck with a big No. 2 on it … Crossing the finish line was definitely a blur. I don’t really show that much emotion all the time, but it was definitely a special moment.”
— Matt Hanson, CHALLENGEDAYTONA Men’s Runner-Up and Top American, post-race on Dec. 7

“As I was saying my little prayers and jogging along, I thought, ‘Hey, I’m not 87, I’m 88 today! I’m hoping I’m still healthy enough to (race) this coming year. What a wonderful gift to yourself to still be doing what you like to do.”
— Molly Hayes, Age Group Team USA Member, on her 88th birthday, Dec. 9