Every day is a full day for 20-year-old Jasmine Oeinck. The ITU-style triathlete (think Olympics, not Kona) lives and trains seven days a week at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs as part of USA Triathlon's emerging athlete program, an Olympic feeder pool. In 2005, Oeinck took first in two of the four under-23 national races she entered (including the Under-23 National Championships in Bellingham, Washington); in 2006, she is entered in nine races, from Qatar to Madrid. And just remember, come the 2008 Olympics in Beijing: You saw her here first.
Outside: How does it feel to be in one of the fastest-growing sports?
Oeinck: Americans haven't paid much attention to triathlon, but that seems to be changing. It's an exciting time, because the sport is growing and people are getting more interested.
Has the life of a triathlete surprised you at all?
I feel very lucky, because triathlons have let me see a lot of the world.
How has training at the OTC affected you?
It's not as easy to stand out here. Everyone is really good. So it keeps you humble. It takes a whole different mentalitythat much more work.
What's your secret to winning?
Swimming, I just have to have the confidence to get with the lead girl; on the bike, it's all about keeping up a pace; and by the time I'm on the run, it's more a mental game than anything.
Is one discipline easier for you than the others?
I never find myself thinking, Here comes the easy leg. I think the hardest part is when you get that stupid little voice in your head saying, You're really tired. You should stop.
How do you overcome it?
I ignore it as best I can and focus on positive talk. I tell myself, Just run until you pass out. Or: Just ride until you throw up. But whatever you do, don't stop.
Have you ever passed out?
No. But I think that little voice can be your worst enemy, your hardest competitor.