The Olympics are over for Jennifer Gutierrez - sort of

Triathlete Susan Bartholomew (left)congratulates fellow American Jennifer Gutierrez on qualifying for the 2000 Olympics.  Credit: Matt Turner/Allsport
Tonight we have closing ceremonies. I am so excited about going to the final performance of the 27th Olympiad. I have only been at the stadium in the athlete seating section. To be on the same playing surface as Cathy Freeman and Michael Johnson is such an honor. I still can't believe I am here at the Games. This Olympic Games will hold memories for a lifetime!

I can remember traveling to Montreal for my first World Cup race back in June of 1996. One of the sightseeing venues was the Olympic Park. I thought to myself, Wow, I bet a lot of Olympians return to this same spot to remember a special day in their lifetime.

I hope I will be returning to Sydney remembering all the glory, pride, and fun I had representing the USA in the sport of triathlon.

Although I leave back to the USA on Oct. 2, I still have a very busy agenda. I will be going to New York for the Women in Sports Conference and attending a gathering in Washington with President Clinton for all USA Olympic athletes. I will be flying back to New York for the Latino Sports Conference in November.

What will I do now? I will continue teaching physical education. I am going to take some time off to have fun, ski, mountain bike, etc. I will still compete at the pro level but will not be as intense as I had to be this past year.

I will re-evaluate next Olympic term prior to Athens, Greece. I am going to do several talks at schools, corporations, womens sports clubs and high school sports banquets. I would like to promote our sport to young and old athletes as well as teach the Olympic movement to young athletes.

It has been more than I expected here at the 2000 Olympic Games. I will bring home a lifetime of memories to share with so many people. I wish Id had two or three hundred pins to trade with other athletes and fans! The environment of all the countries and the friendliness of everyone speaks volumes for how we can (and should) treat each other the other 1,400-plus days between Olympiads!

Keep your feet on the ground and shoot for the stars!

Jennifer Gutierrez

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