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Redemption for Erica Hawley with fourth at Pan Am Games

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Erica Hawley found redemption at the Pan American Games after producing the best performance of her career to finish fourth in the triathlon at the Pan American Games yesterday.

Four years ago, Hawley contemplated quitting the sport after a disappointing finish in Peru, but those memories have now finally been banished.

“I knew coming here I was going to be in a completely different situation than four years ago,” Hawley said.

“The day before the race then I was crying and unsure if I even wanted to do the sport and I was really struggling, but I just knew before this that I was in a completely different head space.

“Not that I didn’t have expectations for this but I felt it was an accomplishment to be here, to start the race and just be happy. My coach and I, we can’t target every single race of the season, but this is one we did.

“It was unexpected and I’m lost for words. I feel that I haven’t put in a good Olympic before and when I started the run I felt good and I managed to hold the position. Fourth is beyond what I thought I could do here. I’m a little shocked still.”

Hawley was towards the front of the Olympic-distance race from the beginning, exiting the first transition after the swim in fifth place, consolidating her position on the bike as her group chased longtime leader Vittoria Lopes and running down the fading Brazilian on the final lap of the 10km run to finish in 1hr 58min 18sec, 1min 11sec behind Mexican winner Lizbeth Rueda Santos.

Despite the fantastic finishing position it was not the smoothest of races for Hawley, with technical issues on the bike and a confusing start to the swim.

“The start was confusing as the horn kept going,” Hawley said.

“I looked around and everyone just kept running. The water was cold and I’m glad I went in for the warm-up to get the initial shock over with. It seemed like the swim was really spread out but I could see there was a small group ahead of me but I knew I was in a good position. Once I got out, I got to my bike and I knew the group I was with had good cyclists in and that I was in the right place.

“It’s funny because I’ve raced all these girls before, especially at the Americas Championship in Veracruz, and I finished eleventh, so I know these girls can run faster than me.

“I actually did less work on the bike than I normally do and just tried to stay in there because the hill in there made it a bit trickier, and I lost the bike computer so I was in the blind as to how much power I was using. I just tried to run a smart race.”

Erica Hawley with proud parents Julia and Adam after finishing fourth at the Pan American Games

Proud parents Julia and Adam Hawley were on hand to celebrate and Erica was pleased to see them in the stands as she made her way up the finishing carpet.

“It’s so good,” Hawley said. “The Bermuda kit is so easy to pick out and my dad is the loudest man ever so I can hear him wherever I am. I just wanted to soak it in.”

Julia Hawley is Bermuda’s chef de mission at these Games and must be one of the most nervous watchers of a race around, but she was thrilled that her daughter produced the goods on the big occasion.

“That was incredible and we were all celebrating as if she got a medal, which she nearly did,” Hawley said.

“We are beyond excited and that was the performance so far of her lifetime. That was really spectacular and I’m just so happy for her as I know how hard she works and she set this as an A race, so to deliver is great to see.”

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Published November 03, 2023 at 8:01 am (Updated November 04, 2023 at 8:09 am)

Redemption for Erica Hawley with fourth at Pan Am Games

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