For Gwen Jorgensen, being an Olympic athlete still means holding a part-time job, pushing to find time to train and asking for help to take her parents and sister to London to watch her race in stars and stripes.
Supporters are invited to join Jorgensen for beers and donations from 5 p.m. to 9 Thursday at Derry Hegarty’s Irish Pub, 5328 W. Blue Mound Rd., Milwaukee. The $25 entry fee and other contributions will help cover the travel costs for Jorgensen’s family, and possibly her coach, to make the trip to the 2012 Olympics in August.
A swim star at Waukesha South and a track All-American at the University of Wisconsin – Madison, Jorgensen was recruited to join a USA Triathlon development program after her collegiate career.
The 25-year-old from Waukesha secured the Olympic berth and her spot among the world’s best triathletes with a second place finish in an International Triathlon Union Championship Series race in August. It was one of her many successes in only her second season of elite triathlon competition.
Gwen Jorgensen on the run. Photo courtesy of USA Triathlon.
During breaks from racing around the world, she works as a tax accountant for Ernst & Young, which will host the event Thursday.
In an email, she explained: “My main goal is to raise enough money to get my parents and sister (and maybe coach too) to come to the Olympics.
"It costs over $4,000 (per person) for the flight, hotel and ticket to the Games.
"My sister, mom, dad, and coach have supported me in every way and it would mean a lot for me to have my support staff with me in London. My mom and sister are high school teachers, and my dad works in a factory.
"They have always been there for me and are my number one superfans. Being able to help them come support me in London is the ultimate goal. Without them I wouldn't even be going to the Olympics next year!”