For many fans in the Milwaukee area, the premiere Olympic event comes Saturday as Waukesha native Gwen Jorgensen vies for her first gold medal in the triathlon.
Inside the halls of Waukesha South, Jorgensen's name stands out more than most, with one banner left to be hung. Jorgensen's path toward the Olympics started on the high school track, one current cross country athletes hope to follow.
"I'd say inspiring,” said Grace Dargiewicz. “I think her training in biking, swimming and running is really amazing."
“Just seeing how dedicated she is and just all the hard work she puts in,” added Libby Geisness.
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Jorgensen graduated from Waukesha South in 2004 and went on to UW Madison where she swam and ran for the Badgers. Her background in both sports made for an easy transition into the triathlon and her first Olympics four years ago.
"I don't think you ever expect someone to be the best in the world at anything, but obviously it's been a great surprise," said coach Eric Lehmann.
Lehmann watched Jorgensen's London Olympics crumble as she suffered from a flat tire. Disappointment from the 38th place finish fueled the fire for Jorgensen. Success since makes her a frontrunner in Rio.
"Really the biggest part has been the jump from Olympic one to Olympic two where she's just dominated the world,” said Lehmann. “It's been a little surreal actually."
For the Waukesha girls and boys who now also have Olympic dreams because of Jorgensen, Saturday’s final race couldn't come soon enough.
"I think if I watch her cross the finish line tomorrow in first to get that gold I'll probably be just as happy for her as she is for herself," said Dargiewicz.
Jorgensen's event starts Saturday morning at 9:00 a.m. Central Time (CT). There's an official watch party in Wauwatosa at Leff’s Lucky Town.