Athletes speak about upcoming Pan Am races

11 July, 2015 | español

Forty-one nations have gathered in Toronto, Canada this weekend for the 17th Pan American Games. Among the thirty-six sports all vying for medals, triathlon kicks off on Saturday with the women’s race that hands out one of the first medals of the Games. The men follow Sunday, July 12.

With all the hype and excitement around earning an Olympic qualifying spot for each winning country for the 2016 Rio Games, athletes from some of the contending nations remarked on what they think about the upcoming races.


Joanna Brown: “I think it is going to be a fun course for spectators to watch. It is a pretty flat course and fast. This is going to be a great experience for me.”

Ellen Pennock: “When you are at a major games you are against the best. You have to be ready. If you are having a bad day you are pretty exposed. But it is going to be really cool for us to kick off the Games and hopefully get the party started.”

Kyle Jones: “I am lining up here wanting to win, but there are a good group of guys who all feel the same. Of course anything can happen—it is triathlon, but that is my goal. Biggest thing is I haven’t been able to race because of my injury but you always wish you had more time. My training has been going really well, better than expected and I feel really good.”

United States

Erin Jones: “It’s pretty cool to be here just to see all the different sports and all the different countries. It’s not just triathlon that’s here competing, it’s everybody.”

Chelsea Burns: “I don’t think I quite realize how big of a deal it was until I got here, and really got the vibe and atmosphere. With all the sports and the countries, everyone intermingling is just so cool.”

Hunter Kemper: “For me, the biggest difference is that I have a much bigger appreciation of my career is coming to an end. I feel like I’m enjoying it more and taking more things in. I see the finish line, so to speak, of my career, so I’m loving it. It’s also different for me because I have family and kids here. My two oldest, Davis (8) and Hudson (5), are here, my wife is here, my parents are here. It’s fun that way too. I want my kids to have as many opportunities moving forward to see me as a professional athlete and not just dad or whatever other job I have going forward.”

Sarah Haskins: “It’s my first time racing with [Chelsea and Erin] but we’re able to train together and get to know each other. It’s been a while since I’ve done a WTS race, but compared to the past where everyone has been a little more on their own schedule, here we’re doing some training sessions together or riding the bus together.”

Kevin McDowell: “I’m just looking forward to going out there and racing. And I’m also excited because my family’s coming, and they haven’t really seen me race. Especially my mom and my sister, who haven’t seen me race since before cancer. So to have them here at an event like this, it’ll be great to share this experience with them. Hopefully go and put on a show, and show them what I’ve been doing. To actually have them here on the course will be cool.”

Eric Lagerstrom: “For me, winning Escape from Alcatraz is a confirmation that things are going really well. It’s kind of surreal. I’ve always wanted to do it, and I’ve wanted to win it. It was something I thought I could do, but maybe in the next couple years. It kind of continues the theme of this season. The things I thought I could do someday… well, someday has come up real fast and is now. That’s the takeaway from that race.”


Crisanto Grajales: “I’m very happy, ready for the big day on Sunday. I would like to say thanks to all the people that follow my career, I’m going to fight for the medals. We know the Mexican team is very strong in men and women and we can have a good result.  The Mexican triathlete family deserve a good result and they can be sure we will be working and fighting for it.”

Women’s race starts Saturday, July 11 8:30ET. Men will start Sunday, July 12 8:30ET. For results and live coverage follow along on Twitter @worldtriathlon and @triathlonlive


hunter kemper kyle jones crisanto grajales kevin mcdowell erin jones pan ams toronto

event website

2015 Toronto Pan American Games