The Olympics gave us another awesome race to watch and be inspired by! If you missed it, you should check out the recap of the Men’s race. The Women’s race turned out to be very similar, but with a bit more excitement for the Americans watching it.
The women’s race was run on the same course as the men’s race. Instead of going back and explaining it in detail like I did in the Men’s post, I’ll just hit the highlights here. It was an Olympic distance race (obviously, since it’s the Olympics and all) so it was a 1500m swim, 40k bike, and 10k run. The biggest stand outs were the beach start for the swim and the steep climb on the 8 lap bike course.
Much like the men’s race, the swim was very uneventful as far as racing goes. A very large group of athletes exited the water together to start the bike. Unlike the men’s race, a large lead group formed and was able to push the pace a create a gap to the chase pack. All three Americans, All three 2012 medal winners, and both previous ITU World Champions were in this group. At about the halfway point, American Sarah True began having leg problems and eventually had to pull out of the race. The gap in the men’s race was never over 2 minutes, but the women entered T2 with around a 4 minutes lead on the chasers.
As the women started to 10k, it was clear that it would be a race for third place. American Gwen Jorgensen and Swiss Nicola Spirig created a healthy lead on the rest of the group and were locked in a battle for gold. You should check out the piece Triathlete Magazine wrote up on the dynamic there. Behind the leaders, British athletes Vicky Holland and Non Stanford established themselves as the other medal contenders. In the final kilometers, Jorgensen surged ahead of Spirig and crossed the line for Gold with 40 seconds to spare. In the battle for 3rd, Holland made the final surge on the finishing straight and claimed the medal.
This was an awesome race, and while I couldn’t watch it live, it was still a nail biter while following on twitter. Like I said after the men’s race, I really want to get involved in draft legal racing. While cycling is my strength, the fast pace nature of the race is so interesting and the dynamic is so different from what we normally have in the states.
What was your favorite part of the Olympic races? Comment below and let me know!