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‘I never gave up and kept believing until the end’

Erica Hawley is preparing for the Olympic Games

The news that she will compete at the Olympic Games has just started to sink in for triathlete Erica Hawley.

The 26-year-old will join Olympic champion Dame Flora Duffy and Tyler Smith as Bermuda’s representatives at the event in Paris after a punishing race schedule, which involved competing on multiple continents this year in the quest for Olympic ranking points.

All Hawley’s efforts paid off and she has now had time to reflect on her achievements before she begins the countdown to Paris.

“It is a pretty surreal feeling to know I have qualified for my first Olympic Games,” Hawley said.

“This has been a dream of mine for a long time and it’s not every day you get to say that you have become an Olympian.

“There has been so much hard work put in to get to this moment and a lot of sacrifices were made so it just makes this moment even sweeter.”

The pressure was on Hawley in the final few months before the Olympic qualification deadline at the end of May as she knew that any disappointing performance or failure to finish could prove fatal to her hope of making it to the start line in Paris.

“For the last seven weeks I have been on the road and travelling around the world in pursuit of this dream,” Hawley said.

“I started with a fifth place in Australia and this definitely set me up well for the rest of my journey as I was confident that training had gone well.

“I was really consistent with my races, which I am proud of, and it made the emotional roller-coaster a bit easier to handle.

“I tried to focus on each race on its own and not think of the bigger picture. I think the biggest thing was to focus on what I can control and not on other competitors’ performances.”

It has been a whirlwind week for Hawley as she returned to her training base in Boulder, Colorado, after she squeaked into the Olympic field as the final person to qualify on Olympic rankings.

That she was close to missing out on her dream has made the joy of making it into the starting line-up all the sweeter.

“It’s hard to describe what this means to me but the Olympics are the pinnacle of my sport and it has been a dream that I’ve had for a while,” Hawley said.

“When you are growing up it is like this big idea that you have but it is crazy to actually make that come true.

“The last two years I have been chasing this dream and gathering points and each race had a consequence of asking if it helped my ranking.

“I was the last person to qualify on Olympic rankings so I had to keep fighting for every position until the last weekend.

“In my first year of qualification I earned only around 450 points and in the second year I had around 1,900 points so that shows that I never gave up and kept believing until the end.”

With just 57 days until the elite women line up alongside the Seine and prepare to take to the water for the biggest race of their lives, there is not long for Hawley to put the final touches to her condition, but she is already formulating her training plans.

“I am just finishing up a reset week before starting my big build into Paris,” she said.

“I am going to be in Boulder training and will not race again ahead of the games. I have put in a huge race block the last couple months so I am excited to be training consistently again and getting stronger at altitude.

“I will be doing a four-week “volume” block and then switching gears into a four-week race-specific block.

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Published June 04, 2024 at 8:00 am (Updated June 05, 2024 at 8:11 am)

‘I never gave up and kept believing until the end’

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