Spirig Wins Olympic Triathlon Gold
Nicola Spirig has won gold in the women’s Olympic Triathlon, with Lisa Norden taking silver and Erin Densham third.
Nicola Spirig called on her amazing strength to power on the bike and sprint to the finish
Britain’s Lucy Hall, the youngest athlete in the field at just 20 years old, led out the swim in the Serpentine, Hyde Park, at a blistering pace which only a handful of athletes could live with. Unfortunately for Team GB, that handful didn’t include Helen Jenkins, who was left with the main pack. Coming in to the first transition, the lead group had a clear gap of over a minute. As the first six athletes headed on to the bike, though, Hall immediately dropped to the back to keep an eye on her team-mates behind and with Laura Bennett (USA) the only big name in the group, it was only a matter of time before the gap between the first two packs started closing.
By the end of the third lap of seven, the first two packs had merged and a huge group was circling Hyde Park as thousands of vocal spectators lined the route. Rain earlier in the morning combined with what appeared to be a greasy corner to bring down several athletes, causing no serious injuries but plenty of disruption. Among those to fall foul of it was the bronze medallist from Beijing 2008, Emma Moffatt, and Great Britain’s third athlete, Vicky Holland.
Hall continued to execute her role as domestique perfectly. She worked tirelessly on the bike to cover breakaway attempts. That kept Jenkins in contention, but also several of the field’s most dangerous runners, including Erin Densham (AUS), Nicola Spirig (SUI), Lisa Norden (SWE), Andrea Hewitt (NZE) and Paula Findlay (CAN). Another chase group including Holland, as well as Ireland’s Aileen Morrison and Chile’s Barbara Riveros Diaz, were more than two minutes down by T2.
On the run, a pack containing Jenkins, Spirig, Norden, Densham, Hewitt and Groff formed but the fiercely determined pace soon began to take its toll. Hewitt dropped back and Groff also lost contact, only to fight her way back into contention. With one kilometre to go, Jenkins looked to be faltering under the pressure but just hung on to the final half a kilometre, when she started to fall back. Then, with a few hundred metres left, Spirig unleashed an incredible sprint. Norden was the only athlete able to match her stride for stride and the Swiss and Swedish athletes crossed the line together with the same split of 1:59:48, with Spirig just taking the gold on a photo finish.
Densham finished third to claim a bronze medal while Groff held on for fourth and Jenkins fifth. A tearful Jenkins told the BBC she had been suffering from a knee injury and unable to complete the run training she’d planned. She later tweeted, “Thanks for all the support I have received! Gave it everything today”, and congratulated the medallists.
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on Saturday, August 4th, 2012 at 3:24 pm under Pro Triathlon News, Triathlon News.
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Tags: Erin Densham, Helen Jenkins, Hot, Lisa Norden, London 2012 Olympic Games, Nicola Spirig, Triathlon Plus Magazine