If ever there was one quiet achiever amongst Australia’s Olympic medallists in London this year then triathlete Erin Densham takes the gold.
Densham, the 27-year-old nomad who was born in Sydney, lives in Melbourne and spends her competitive year between Spain, France and the US and wherever the ITU Triathlon World Series takes her “and she lets her results and fighting spirit do all the talking.
With World Championship rounds continuing after London there was no home-coming parades for triathlon’s Olympic bronze medallist, who swam, rode and ran her way into the hearts of all Australian sports fans with her second-to-none determination.
She produced the bravest bronze of the Games in what was arguably one of the most memorable finishes which saw Switzerland’s Nicola Spirig snatch the gold in a heartbeat from Sweden’s long-striding Lisa Norden in front of thousands of spectators in London’s Hyde Park,
And in typical no fuss Densham fashion she snuck back into Sydney last week, visited her family in Campbelltown for a celebration dinner and then headed south to her latest training base in Wollongong, before flying out to Yokohama yesterday for the second last round of the ITU Series.
But her travels are far from finished. Densham will then return to Wollongong to prepare for the final assault of the season, the ITU World Championship grand final in Auckland (October 20,21) where she hopes to be crowned Australia’s ninth women’s world triathlon champion.
If successful triathlon’s quiet achiever will join Michellie Jones (1991,1992), Emma Carney (1993), Jackie Gallagher (1996), Joanne King (1998), Loretta Harrop (1999), Nicole Hackett (2000), Emma Snowsill (2003, 2005, 2006) and Emma Moffatt (2009, 2010) on the who’s who of Australian triathletes.
While many Olympians have soaked up the post Games celebrations, Densham and some of her fellow triathletes, including London team mate and 2008 Olympic bronze medallist, Moffatt have been back on the bike.
Densham went on to finish fifth in the ITU Sprint race in Stockholm “a race she admits was probably the hardest thing she has ever done, before two weeks in Banyoles.
The ITU Sydney race winner is determined to finish 2012 with the coveted ITU World Championship under her belt and with two races to go she holds a handy lead in the title race with 3611 points “470pts ahead of New Zealand’s Andrea Hewitt (3141) and 502 points ahead of the Brett Sutton-coached Spirig (3109).
Then follows Norden (3011), Germany’s Anne Haug (2901), defending world champion, Great Britain’s Helen Jenkins (2668), Spain’s Ainhoa Murua (2515) with 2009 and 2010 world champion Moffatt (2356) in eighth.
“Sometimes I even ask myself how I have kept going “but it’s the lure of that world championship that helps me,” said Densham, before she headed off on her final 50 minute run around the streets of Wollongong, on the eve of her departure.
“I want to finish the year on a high and I’ll fight till the very end to win the World Championship. I’m going to Yokohama to put together the best possible race I can before coming home and preparing for the final round in Auckland (October 20-21).
“I am certainly not resting on my laurels, I’ve never been one to do that but I’m now producing the results I always knew I was capable of.”
While Densham has the world title squarely in her sights, Moffatt too is determined to finish the year on a high after the bitter disappointment of London, where she crashed out on the bike “her hopes of another Olympic podium disappearing before her eyes and left her Olympic dreams in tatters on the road.
After recovering from that disappointment, Moffatt too has flown out to Yokohama and will also target Auckland before drawing the shutters on a topsy-truvey year.
“I spent a week licking my wounds in London and then got back on with it and I’m looking forward to finishing the season with some strong results that hopefully will improve my points standing,” said Moffatt.
“You can’t dwell on it (London) but I have put it all behind me “I have to keep looking forward and I am back doing my thing and looking forward to racing and knowing that after Auckland there will be a break just around the corner.”
Densham and Moffatt will be joined in Yokohama by recently crowned ITU World Duathlon Champion Felicity Sheedy-Ryan as well as Ashleigh Gentle and Felicity Abram.
This year, athletes will start with a two-lap 750m swim in the sea near Osambashi pier.
An Olympic distance race, the bike and run legs start and finish in Yamashita Park and in and around Yokohama’s waterfront.
The bike snakes around the giant Cosmo Clock 21 Ferris Wheel, while the run will take athletes around the Kanagawa Prefectural Government Building.
The women’s race will start at 9:05am AEST time on Saturday 29 September. The men’s race will get underway three hours later at 12noon AEST.