EDMONTON, August 29, 2014: Legendary Australian triathlete Michellie Jones added yet another world title to her extraordinary list of achievements when she made her debut in the ITU Age Group Triathlon World Championships in Edmonton today.
And right from the outset there was no keeping up with the Jones girl, who went on to become one of the world’s greatest triathletes, after growing up in Wollongong, eventually settling on to the Gold Coast and who now resides in San Diego.
Jones led the field out of the swim and was never headed as her competitive nature swung into gear and she picked off competitors who had started in the waves before her 40-44 years age group.
In the end it was a swim, bike and run back through memory lanes for the two-time ITU World Champion, Hawaiian Ironman winner and Olympic silver medallist from Sydney when she made her debut in the ITU Age Group Sprint race run in conjunction with the World Championship Grand Final at Hawrelak Park. Jones, 44 and in her 25th year as a professional triathlete, was a clear cut winner in the 40-44 years age group after emerging from the water first after the 750m swim before clearing out on the 19.4km bike and finishing off the race with an eye-catching five km run - just like the Jones of all.
"It was a fun little course; up and down; it’s a sprint race and you’ve just got to go as hard as you can right from the start," said Jones, now based in Carlsbad, where she also enjoys her other love, Equestrian. "I came out of the swim first; there was a little bit of lactic acid straight up the bill on the bike but I like that and the wind’s picking up, which made it a little tougher for us old folk, but the run was awesome, you're running on trail which I love and with so many Australians in the crowd cheering me on, it was amazing...I'll be back," said the Australian Hall of Famer.
“Everyone is trying to get to the finish, you get to pass people, some people pass you back and I just tried to pick off a many people as I could.
“There were so many supporters out there yelling go Aussie; it’s so patriotic and you’re not just doing it for yourself, you’re doing it for your country.
“I just wanted to come out and have a go and this is what I wanted to do to race the world championships.
“I haven’t pulled on this green and gold suit since 2003 and it doesn’t matter whether you’re a pro or an age grouper, it’s yourself against everyone else.”
Adding to old time week was the reception she received when she crossed the finish line with Canada's favourite triathlon son, good friend and Sydney Olympic gold medallist, Simon Whitfield waiting to present the medals and he saved a special hug and kiss for his fellow Sydney 2000 medallist. "I told him he'd better wait for me," said Jones, who shared one of her greatest moments with Whitfield on the steps of the Sydney Opera House when triathlon made its Olympic debut.
Among the other Australian medallists today were: Ken Murley (Gold 70-74 years male); Craig Davis (Silver 25-29 years male) Kate Bramley (Bronze; 25-29 years female); Xavier Flynn (Bronze 35-39 male); Jennifer Strack (Bronze 55-59 years female); Richard Burnell (Bronze 55-59 years male) and Greg Salter (Bronze 60-65 years male).
Jones was one of almost 300 Australian Age Groupers and Elites who have converged on the city of Edmonton for the ITU Triathlon World Triathlon Championship Grand Final. Other events today are the ITU Junior Women's (3pm) and the Boys (5:15) with the U23 men; Elite women and Elite Paratriathlon tomorrow; the U23 women and Elite men on Sunday and Open Paratriathlon, Age Standard Distance and U23/Jnr Mixed Teams Relay on Monday.