American Gwen Jorgensen was featured in today’s Wall Street Journal. Read an excerpt from the story here and click the link below for the full feature.
Gwen Jorgensen was working as an Ernst & Young accountant when she received an unusual recruiting pitch: Why not try triathlon?
The pitch came from credible quarters—USA Triathlon, the sport’s governing body in America. But Jorgensen felt as if the organization must have mistaken her for someone else. She’d never done a triathlon. She wasn’t a cyclist. During her swimming and running career at the University of Wisconsin, she had never won gold, silver or bronze at the NCAA championships.
Long ago, moreover, she’d traded her childhood dream of an Olympic career for a new love: corporate taxation. “I loved Ernst & Young,” she said.
Today, no athlete in America is hotter than Jorgensen. She has won four consecutive World Triathlon Series races this season—something no other female has ever done—making her the top-ranked woman triathlete on the planet. Instead of Ernst & Young, her income now derives from race purses as well as sponsors such as Specialized, Asics and Red Bull.
“It doesn’t seem real,” Jorgensen, 28, said of her transformation from accountant to world-leading triathlete. Typical of triathletes, she comes across as less impressed with her accomplishments than obsessed with her weakest leg: swimming. “I’ve been swimming my whole life and I don’t have a lot of talent in it,” Jorgensen said in an interview from Spain, her European training base, emphasizing in particular the difficulty of switching from pools to open water.