One final press conference before one final World Triathlon Series race. Ahead of this weekend’s elites races where one man and one woman will be crowned the ITU World Champion, contenders Flora Duffy (BER), Gwen Jorgensen (USA), Claudia Rivas (MEX), Mario Mola (ESP), Jonathan Brownlee (GBR) and Crisanto Grajales (MEX) spent the afternoon on Thursday talking to media and talking about their thoughts going into the competitions.
How does it feel to be the leader of the Columbia Threadneedle Rankings and what can you expect on Saturday.
“This season kind of blew my expectations out of the water. I did not expect to be leading the Series coming into the Grand Final, but I have the fortunate position of having the reigning Olympic Champion right behind me. I think it will be a really hard race on Saturday, these conditions are not easy to race in, it is a really big year, everyone is coming off the Olympics, so I think everyone is in different states. But I am going to give it my all on Saturday to try to obviously win the Series, that would be huge for Bermuda and huge for me. It is going to be a really tough battle out there, I know Gwen obviously also wants to win, but either way it has been a great season for me so I can’t complain.”
What does it mean to be here in Cozumel and racing with great athletes to cap off your year after winning the Olympics?
“I am really excited to be here. I think I have been pretty vocal about wanting to win gold in Rio for the past four years. I said that this year, 2016, I would be happy if the only race I won was the Olympics and I did that, so I am really happy, so with the World Triathlon Series, whatever I do here will just be icing on the cake. It is pretty tight with the top competitors, Flora I am assuming is going to try and break away on the swim or the bike. She has definitely made me a better competitor this year, she has really pushed me and I think that has been great for the sport. So it is going to be a tough race on Saturday, it is going to be hot, but I would much prefer that than to the cold, so it will be exciting and tough.”
“While I have been very fortunate to race against the top triathletes like Flora and Gwen, they may certainly be better athletes but I am pleased with the Olympic Games. It is going to be a tough competitor on Saturday, I am going to give it my all and hopefully make my home country of Mexico proud.”
What are your expectations for Sunday knowing the position that you are at in the rankings.
“First of all I am very happy to have a press conference in Spanish. It has been a long year, but I certainly have no regrets whatsoever. I have had a very warm welcome here in Mexico, it is my first time here to Cozumel and my first time in Mexico. I look forward to doing my best, I want to please my Spanish fans but also all the fans from Mexican triathlon, so thank you for having me here.”
How do you feel about racing in Cozumel and potentially earning the World Title?
“Firstly I am very pleased to be here, it is a beautiful place, it feels like I am holiday instead of at a race. My main event of the year was obviously August 18th, so to get the silver medal there I was very pleased. Like Gwen said, if I can become world champion again it would be nice, but Mario is definitely in the driving seat for the World Championships. It is very hot here. It doesn’t really suit me very well, but I am going to try my best.”
“I am very pleased to be here with all the best triathletes from all over the world. I also would like to take this opportunity to thank the media for making it out here today in such extreme conditions. Also thank you to every athletes competing this week in Cozumel, it is a beautiful place to be racing. I have no regrets whatsoever in the Olympics, I worked really hard. It has been a great season, I came away with some performances that I am very pleased about, especially at the Olympic Games. Again it is going to be a really tough race on Sunday with the best triathletes in the world and I am going to try my best and continue to enjoy and compete in the sport that I love and I look forward to a great day of racing.”