Gunnison Athlete First Non-European to Take Title
February 13, 2010 (Eidsvoll, Norway) – Gunnison’s Rebecca Dussault became the first-ever non-European athlete to capture gold at the ITU Winter Triathlon World Championships Saturday when she outdistanced the women’s elite field by nearly two minutes.
Dussault, who took bronze at last year’s world championships, led from the start of the race and clocked a time of 1:19:47 in the run-bike-cross country ski event, bettering silver medalist Tatiana Charochkina of Russia and bronze medalist Hanne Tronnes of Norway.
“I was really happy with today, as I’ve come over a couple of times and seemed to be plagued with bad luck,” said Dussault after the race.
“Last week I had a flat tire, and last year at world championships I had a problem with my skis, but today I put I put it all together and I finally have the win. It’s wonderful.”
Team USA’s Emma Garrard (Park City, Utah) joined Dussault in the top 10 with a seventh-place finish in 1:24:47, and Heather Best (Fairbanks, Alaska) took 13th in 1:28:05.
On the men’s side, Gunnison’s Brian Smith placed 12th for the U.S. with a time of 1:14:14.
The American duo of Dussault and Garrard carried a 25-second lead into the first transition. Garrard had to overcome a flat tire on the second bike lap to post her seventh-place finish, but Dussault built a 50-meter lead heading into transition two.
Dussault extended her lead to a minute with a quick transition, and the American, who represented the U.S. at the 2006 Winter Olympics in cross country skiing, and narrowly missed qualifying for the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic Games, entered the final leg in confident form.
Dussault, who was the first non-European winner in the event’s 14-year history, had won back-to-back U.S. national titles in 2009 and 2010.