The United States received its first gold medal in the ITU Mixed Relay World Championships Sunday, and Ben Kanute from Geneva, Ill. was on relay.
Along with Kanute, Gwen Jorgensen, Kirsten Kasper and Joe Maloy competed in the Humburg, Germany race. Each team member completed a 300-meter swim, a 6.6 kilometer bike ride and a 1.6 kilometer run. The team finished with a time of 01:20:29, beating Australia and Germany by 29 seconds.
Jorgensen kicked off the race with an 11-second lead over France, and while Kanute fell behind during his leg, he finished with a race best for the 1.6k run at a 19:08 split, giving the U.S. a 45-second lead.
“I just went as hard as I could,” Kanute told SlowTwitch. “On the bike I was feeling really good and me and [Aurelien] Raphael weren’t working the best together so I punched I through a few corners and found myself in front.”
Kasper increased the team’s lead to one minute by the time she finished, and Maloy gave up 15 seconds but the team still came out on top. Once he crossed the finish line, the four celebrated with hugs and smiles.
“The key word is ‘team,’” said Maloy. “I crossed the line, but we shook hands in between legs of the relay and I just could not have done it without these guys. We compete all the time individually, so it is nice to group up because there is a lot of stuff behind the scenes with camaraderie.”
This was the second ITU medal for the U.S. as they won bronze in 2013.