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How a sports psychologist helps Olympic Champion Gwen Jorgensen chase her Paris dream

Gwen Jorgensen is using all the resources at her disposal to get on the right track as she tries to make the 2024 US Olympic Team.

Staff Reporter
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Redefining triathlon

One year on from her shock return to the sport, Gwen Jorgensen has transformed herself from a wildcard to a true contender as the race to qualify for the US Olympic Team reaches the crucial final stages.

The 2016 Olympic gold medalist, who raced far and wide last year to secure vital Olympic ranking points, has attracted a legion of fans with her journey to the Paris Games, much of which has been documented on her YouTube channel.

Revealing another piece to the puzzle in her most recent video, Jorgensen discusses the mental side of the sport and includes some insights from her sports psychologist, who she has been working with for the past year.

“We can’t control how we feel”

In an impressive run workout shown in the video, Jorgensen runs a tough 5 x 1km session after a hard day of training, with sports psychologist Jason Patchell on the bike alongside her during the workout discussing mental strategies.

Gwen Jorgensen reflective World Triathlon Cup Vina del Mer 2023
[Photo credit: World Triathlon / Wagner Araujo]

“It felt good to run hard. Feelings don’t really matter, we can’t control how we feel so it’s about putting in the effort no matter how we feel.

“I didn’t expect to feel good today, so it was nice to just come out and do some hard efforts. 1km’s are very reliable indicators for me so it’s nice to just come out and run some decent times.” 

The former world champion revealed that a big focus for her has been staying present, something that has been concentrating hard on doing during her workouts.

“For me, it’s all about staying present and in the moment, so bringing it back to what I’m doing in the moment because we often get distracted by what we’re feeling, how many we have to go or what we just did so it’s about just bringing it back to what we’re doing in the present moment.” 

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“I help bring a level of discipline and sometimes disruption”

Explaining his working relationship with Jorgensen and the role he plays as part of her team, Patchell explains how he helps the 37-year-old get the best out of herself.

“Gwen has spent a lot of time putting together her purpose and philosophy around what makes her at her best, so my job is to not only help her with that but also bring some accountability to what that looks like in some of these sessions.

“I was helping her today connect in with the things that are really important and make her at her best. We’ll then reflect on that each session.” 

Patchell says that having started working with Jorgensen when she made the comeback to the sport, he has constantly been impressed by the discipline and attention to detail shown by Gwen and other high level triathletes.

“I’ve been working just with her for a bit over a year and we would catch-up every week and we have over the last year, to work through the week and understand how she can get more out of herself based on what’s important.

“Just the level of discipline and attention to detail that is required from Gwen and all the triathletes is incredible, it’s an impressive thing to see and I guess I help bring a level of discipline and sometimes disruption when that discipline traps the approach or the freedom and openness to possibilities.” 

Tomos Land
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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