Down the blue carpet: Episode Two with Jelle Geens
The last eighteen months were an emotional rollercoaster for Belgian triathlon superstar Jelle Geens. From the disappointment of testing positive for Covid and missing the Tokyo 2020 Olympics individual race to winning the World Triathlon Championship Series in Abu Dhabi last November. On the second episode of Down the blue carpet, we sit with the Belgian hammer to talk about how he has overcome injuries and crashes to be “in the best shape of my life right now”. He is currently ranked in third place on the Maurice Lacroix Rankings, and looking forward to finishing the season as high as he can.
Reflecting on how hard and competitive the field is right now -“Alex and Hayden have set the bar really high this year”-, Geens is convinced that after months of setbacks and injuries, he is now back in form. First, it was a broken wrist in Montreal 2021, then a crash this winter that took him off the blue carpet for a few months. “I made a lot of steps in the right direction to be back and I think that right now, I am in the best shape of my life. I’m happy with my fitness at this moment”, he says, just a few days before toeing the start line in Bermuda next week.
One of the most versatile athletes on the circuit -he enjoys both the Montreal super sprint format and the fast and furious 10k runs on Olympic distance races- Geens will be indeed one to watch not only in the Abu Dhabi Finals this year, but also on the next Olympic Games in Paris. “I won in Montreal in 2019, my first ever podium in WTCS. Another podium in Hamburg 2019. The build-up until Tokyo looked positive, I was confident…”.
And then the terrible disappointment of his life. A Covid positive test that took one of the favourites contendents for the Olympic podium suddenly out. “I kept testing myself day after day, hopeful that I could compete. Once I realized that I couldn’t, I lost all motivation. After a year of waiting, the delay… and then it never happened, it was the biggest disappointment of my career”.
And now? He focuses on the season, enjoys the process, the training and is “hungry for Paris. I have unfinished business with the Olympics. I am still getting better every day. I will be the most motivated athlete on the start line in Paris.
You can watch the full interview here and rewatch Episode 1 with Alex Yee. And stay tuned for more episodes featuring the likes of the high-flying Flora Duffy, Georgia Taylor-Brown, Hayden Wilde and Kristian Blummenfelt, among many others, and watch back all Jelle’s WTCS podium races as part of his TriathlonLive.tv playlist.