Olympic triathlon champion Gwen Jorgensen has decided to shift her focus to the marathon for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, she announced on Twitter.
At the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Jorgensen became the United States' first-ever Olympic gold medalist in the triathlon. She competed in the 2016 TCS New York City Marathon and ran 2:41:01 for her debut over 26.2 miles. She finished 14th overall among the elite women and was the sixth American across the finish line. She did not compete in the triathlon or run any marathon in 2017 to give birth to her first child. In May, Jorgensen, 31, told People magazine that she ran 100 miles in a week where she was seven months pregnant.
“USA Triathlon brought me into this sport, and now I’m incredibly privileged to step away at the top, with an Olympic gold medal," she said in a statement from USA Triathlon. "Though my near-future training will be focused on winning gold in the marathon in Tokyo, I will always be a part of the USA Triathlon family and look forward to embracing every opportunity to help grow the sport of triathlon. In fact, I hope this new adventure in running will play a big part in doing exactly that."
Watch her announcement below:
Before moving into the triathlon in 2010, Jorgensen was a runner and swimmer at Wisconsin. She was recruited to USA Triathlon's Collegiate Recruitment Program and also balanced a job with Ernst & Young. She left her job as a certified public accountant to focus on the triathlon full-time in 2011 and then competed at the 2012 Olympics in London. She finished 38th overall due to an unfortunate flat tire on the bike. She continued dominating on the ITU World Triathlon Series and won the world title in 2014 and 2015. In Rio, she battled with 2012 Olympic champion Nicola Spirig of Switzerland on the 10K run before pulling away in the final mile and a half to capture gold.
In order for Jorgensen to qualify for the 2020 U.S. Olympic team in the marathon, she would need to qualify and then place within the top three of the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials. Her decision to shift to the marathon comes just two days after Shalane Flanagan became the first American woman to the New York City Marathon in 40 years. Flanagan, 36, has teased the possibility of retiring after accomplishing her bucket list goal of winning a major marathon.