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Road to Paris 2024: How pregnancy inspired Olympic champion Gwen Jorgensen to make triathlon return

Gwen Jorgensen reveals why her pregnancy proved to be a catalyst for her return to racing.

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Having retired from the sport after winning an Olympic gold medal in 2016, it seemed like it would take something big to bring American Gwen Jorgensen back to triathlon.

During her time away, she pursued her passion for athletics as a professional runner for the Nike Bowerman Track Club and gave birth to her two children, Stanley and George.

After recently speaking with Gwen, she shared how it was during her pregnancy with George that she started to think about returning to triathlon. We spoke about her swim journey and route back to the sport – you can watch the full interview at the bottom of this article.

“I’m really enjoying this”

Having retired from the sport after falling out of love with swimming, Jorgensen said despite previous suggestions of a comeback, it wasn’t until she fell pregnant for the second time and couldn’t run that she gave the idea some serious thought.

Gwen Jorgensen Olympic Triathlon Rio 2016
Gwen Jorgensen of the United States celebrates winning triathlon gold at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio (World Triathlon).

“A comeback is something Patrick [her husband] would bring up occasionally. At first, I just very quickly said, ‘No! Absolutely not’. But as time passed and I got pregnant with George [her second child], I couldn’t run much at the time, so I started to swim again. 

“I was like, wow, I thought I didn’t like swimming, but I’m really enjoying this! I want to swim again! That’s how it started. I had stopped the sport because I wasn’t enjoying swimming. But when I was pregnant, I started to enjoy it. And then I thought, maybe Paris 2024 is something that I could try for.”

18 months on from that decision, Jorgensen is now one of the favourites to qualify for Team USA alongside Taylor Knibb, with the crucial Olympic qualification period coming up over the next few months ahead of the Games.

Mark Allen
Written by
Mark Allen
Mark Allen has to be in any conversation about the greatest triathlete of all time. A six-time IRONMAN World Champion, he won every other title that mattered in the sport and dominated like few others
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