LONDON - The United States' Hunter Kemper will make his record-setting fourth Olympic Games triathlon appearance, while teammate Manuel Huerta is set for his debut on sport's biggest stage at Tuesday's London 2012 men's triathlon.
Action at Hyde Park begins at 11:30 a.m. locally. NBC Sports Network will air the race live beginning at 6:30 a.m. Eastern with Steve Schlanger, Beijing Olympic triathlete Julie Swail and Carolyn Manno on the call. The race will also stream online at NBCOlympics.com. Visit usatriathlon.org for more information on how to follow the action.
Each competitor will complete a 1,500-meter swim in The Serpentine, a 43-kilometer bike leg past a number of London landmarks, including Buckingham Palace, and a 10-kilometer run around Hyde Park. The draft-legal bike features seven laps of 6.1k course, while the run is comprised four laps of a 2.5k course.
Huerta (Miami, Fla.), 28, was named USA Triathlon's Elite Athlete of the Year for 2011 and capped his season with a silver medal at the Pan American Games. He finished the year as the No. 3 American in the ITU World Triathlon Series rankings and was the top U.S. men's performer at the London and Kitzbühel WTS stops. The Cuban-born Huerta earned his Olympic berth with an emotional ninth-place finish at the May 12 ITU World Triathlon San Diego. Since qualifying for London, Huerta has recorded top-five ITU finishes in Dallas and Edmonton.
"I showed up to those races a little bit tired from my training. I was fully focused on London and I just wanted to stay in race mode to not lose that feeling. On the other hand, I didn't want to travel too long, so I kept it within North America. I took only the positive things from those races and that was to get out there to do a hard effort," Huerta said. "The results were good for me."
One of just three athletes to qualify for all four Olympic triathlons, the 36-year-old Kemper (Colorado Springs, Colo.) is the top U.S. men's finisher in all three previous Olympic triathlons with a top showing of seventh in Beijing. Hampered by injury for much of the past three seasons and racing for the first time in seven months, Kemper delivered a fifth-place finish at the 2012 ITU World Triathlon San Diego on May 12 to claim his fourth Olympic berth. He owns U.S. men's records with seven career USA Triathlon Elite National Championship titles and four career ITU World Cup victories. He tuned up for London with wins at the July 14 Life Time Fitness Triathlon in Minneapolis and the May 28 Capital of Texas Triathlon.
"I'm looking forward to the challenge; I'm looking forward to this event," Kemper said. "I think I'm in a really good place, and we'll see. I really just want to leave it out there and have a great race and see what happens."
Photo Credit: Paul Phillips/Competitive Image