Gwen Jorgensen, USA’s First Gold Medal Triathlete
Gwen Jorgensen, Elizabeth Jorgensen, Nancy Jorgensen
Young Reader Memoir, 175 pp
October, 2022, Meyer & Meyer Sport (UK) Ltd.
Reviewed by Lisa Lickel, www.lisalickel.com
This memoir of USA Olympic Triathlete from Wisconsin, Gwen Jorgensen, is a lovely book geared toward young readers, encouraging them to reach for their dreams. Gwen competed in triathlon in the 2012 Olympics in London and the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. The book is an account of her years of training, and overcoming challenges to become a professional athlete on her way to the world stage and a gold medal.
Gwen had big dreams of being an Olympian as a child, working hard to become a competitive swimmer. She learned about swim meets through school, and her parents supported swim lessons at a local high school. There she met friends who encouraged each other at practices and in competitions.
Eventually she earned a walk-on collegiate swimming spot at UW-Madison, added running to her repertoire, and then finally when learning about the triathlon, bicycling. She met her husband while training for triathlon events and competing in Europe, Mexico, Canada, Japan, and Australia. The book intertwines her preparations for Rio with elementary years, upper grades and college. Along the way she dealt with bone breaks and fractures and other lessons of difficult training situations, including heartbreaking setbacks and losses. Gwen shares what it was like to prepare for the triathlon in Rio, from packing for the journey with her husband, to what each moment of the journey, of being in Brazil, including recipes for healthy meals, such as her overnight oatmeal.
A personal letter from Gwen which includes an invitation to engage with young readers who can post their goals on her social media pages sets the stage. Tips and lessons, such as how to learn swim strokes, self-advice about patience and dedication, personal essays, and excerpts from newsclips.
The book is nicely laid out and easy to read, embellished with art work, personal quotes, and numerous photos, giving it a scrapbook feel. The book also includes goal-setting advice and a worksheet. Gwen Jorgensen is a positive, encouraging read and would make a wonderful gift for the young reader in your life.
Wisconsin Writers Association
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