Olympic gold medalist Gwen Jorgensen announced today that she plans to leave triathlon to focus on running marathons.
This article originally appeared on Triathlete.com.
The defending Olympic champion made a huge announcement on Tuesday morning.
2016 Olympic gold medalist Gwen Jorgensen has announced that she will be going for a spot on the 2020 Tokyo Olympic team, but it will be in the marathon instead of triathlon.
The American, who took 2017 off of competing to welcome son Stanley (born in August), made the announcement on Instagram on Tuesday morning as well as in a press release from USA Triathlon.
“You could say a lot has changed since 2016,” she says in the Instagram video. “We got a new home in a new city. I achieved my dream of winning and being the best in the world. I achieved my truest dream and had my first child—my beautiful Stanley. Giving birth was amazing, but also very difficult. My body needed time to heal. I always knew I would make a comeback. Be a working mom. He would have a bib, and I would have a bib. I would train in this body. And get that feeling back. To grind again. To achieve again. To try again to be the best. I want it all again. Except, entirely new. I’m ready to make a comeback to a stage I’ve never been. Hello marathon, it’s nice to meet you. My name is Gwen Jorgensen.”
While the announcement comes as a bit of a shock to the triathlon community, Jorgensen had made hints about this type of decision over the course of the past year. Following her gold medal performance in Rio, she immediately turned her attention to competing at the 2016 New York City Marathon. Even with only a couple of months to train, she turned in a 2:41:01 marathon—which was good enough for 14th place in the elite women’s division. Despite the amazing effort, she admitted after the race to being “a little disappointed” with her performance.
Following the marathon and the announcement of her pregnancy, Jorgensen and husband Patrick Lemieux moved to Portland, Ore.—where several elite runners train. She’s also posted a couple of posts on social media of her training with the likes of Amy Hastings and Shalane Flanagan.
Jorgensen competed in swimming and running at the University of Wisconsin, and then became a CPA for accounting firm Ernst and Young. She was identified as a potential Olympic triathlete and became a part of USAT’s Collegiate Recruitment Program. She is one of the winningest triathletes of all time, posting 17 World Triathlon Series victories and becoming the first American to win Olympic gold in triathlon.
“USA Triathlon brought me into this sport, and now I’m incredibly privileged to step away at the top, with an Olympic gold medal,” Jorgensen said in USA Triathlon’s press release. “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.”