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Gwen Jorgensen continues to face uphill battle for Paris Olympic qualification despite recent success

Gwen Jorgensen (USA), the 2016 Olympic gold medalist, was removed from the WTCS Cagliari start list by her governing body, despite asking USA Triathlon to race at the event and earning her spot on the start line via her World Ranking.

Staff Reporter
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After spending most of 2023 flying around the world to various far flung races, Gwen Jorgensen now sits at World #24 and is the fifth ranked US athlete, just 12 months into her triathlon comeback.

Battling to make the squad for Paris this summer, the 2016 Olympic gold medalist has faced numerous hurdles since making her return to the sport after a lengthy hiatus.

And in yet another setback this week, the former world champion was removed by her national federation from the WTCS Cagliari start list, in a shocking twist to her ‘Road to Paris’ journey.

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“This was not by choice”

For all but the keenest of observers, it would have been easy to miss Jorgensen being replaced by Katie Zaferes on the WTCS Cagliari start list, were it not for the her post on social media.

Gwen Jorgensen WTCS Sunderland Mixed Relay 2023 photo credit World Triathlon / Tommy Zaferes
[Photo credit: World Triathlon / Tommy Zaferes]

Sharing her thoughts about the decision on Instagram, the 38-year-old confirmed that it was not her choice, and that the substitution was made by USA Triathlon.

“Did you notice my name disappear from the Cagliari start list? This was not by choice. I asked USAT to race Cagliari and was in the Top 5 USA and Top 25 in the world.

“USAT has the right to take out one person and put in a different person (called a substitution). They have discretion and used it.

“If sport is anything, it’s unpredictable. To be successful you must adapt. Control the controllable and adapt and execute the uncontrollable.”

“This journey has been a winding road”

Instead of racing both WTCS Yokohama and WTCS Cagliari in May, Jorgensen will now focus solely on her race in Japan, which offers an opportunity for Olympic selection.

World Triathlon Cup Karlovy Vary 2023 Gwen Jorgensen finish
Photo Credit: Ben Lumley / World Triathlon

Taking the decision by USAT in her stride, the mother of two chalked this hurdle down to the journey, one that whilst she admits has been difficult, is a process that has also brought her joy.

“I’ve come a long way in a year and I’m excited to race in Yokohama on May 11th. Last year I made the trip to Japan hoping I would roll on the start list (I didn’t).

“I have a lot of great memories from that trip even though I didn’t race. We adapt, make the most of what is in front of us, and enjoy the process along the way.

“Thank you to everyone who has supported me thus far. This journey has been a winding road, but one I full heartedly enjoy.”

With a win at the La Havana Americas Triathlon Cup and third place at the Lievin World Triathlon Indoor Cup to her name thus far in 2024, all eyes will be on Jorgensen next weekend in Yokohama.

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Written by
Tomos Land
Tomos Land is a triathlon & running journalist whose expertise lies in the professional world of short course & long distance triathlon, though he also boasts an extensive knowledge of ultra-running.

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