World Champion Potter reflects on ‘Greatest Victory’

But Potter was adamant that sooner or later she would make it. She was right. She has now experienced what the summit feels like.

The 31-year-old can now call herself champion of the World Triathlon Championship Series – the top tier of triathlon racing – after winning gold at the Abu Dhabi event in March. It has been built up to this point for a long time.

After becoming European Champion in 2019, Potter began to make a real impression at World Series events last season, picking up two silver medals and one bronze medal in 2022.

Potter admits finally snagging the elusive gold, defeating Olympic silver medalist Georgia Taylor-Brown and world No. 3 Taylor Spivey, was a significant milestone.

“It was definitely the biggest win

of my career,” said the Leeds-based

Glasgowian says. “I had another winter of work and it clicked.

“I didn’t even have the smoothest run-up because I had a few viral infections so my training wasn’t as consistent as I would have liked.

“I knew I was in good shape and I thought I would be in the top five and maybe even be on the podium, but I didn’t think I could win. So it was a big deal to get the win.”

Her friend and training partner, Olympic medalist Jonny Brownlee, had predicted her victory, but while Potter didn’t share his overall confidence, she knew she was in a good place. While it’s easy to assume that the results of these international triathlon events are solely a result of the physical condition of each individual athlete, there’s a lot more to it, Potter points out.

As the team dynamics of being part of the GB team are somewhat challenging for the Scot – perhaps unsurprisingly there is some tension given there are five British women in the top 30 in the world – Potter knew her way of thinking and how she got along within the UK team. had to be addressed if she was to rise to the top step of the podium.

Because Potter never left any stone unturned, she turned to a sports psychologist and she believes that’s why she was able to get a few percent more out of herself on race day.

“I’ve been working with a psychologist for a while, but last winter I really put more emphasis on it,” says the Commonwealth Games bronze medalist.

“I wasn’t necessarily working on the performance, but more on the fear I have when racing.

“And it’s not just about the actual race, it’s also about the team dynamic and I’ve really addressed that this year.

“For me, there was a lot going on off the field in terms of some personalities within the GB team. It’s been around for a few years, but now I feel 100% comfortable in this environment.

“I’m set now that I don’t care what you say or think about me, I’ll just focus on racing. I don’t want to deal with trivial things when I have much more important things to think about.

“And then when you get some good results, that helps and it sticks in the back of your mind even more.”

Potter’s impressive start to the season continued on her return from Abu Dhabi.

Another win, this time at the Arena Games in London, underscores the form she’s in this year before setting her sights on another podium in her next appearance at the Cagliari World Series, which begins today.

However, she is aware that she will need to maintain her current level of performance in the coming months if she is to achieve her ultimate goal of competing at the Paris Olympics next summer. Already an Olympian – she was part of the UK Athletics squad at the 2016 Olympics and finished 34th in the 10,000m final – Potter is fixated on her second Olympic appearance. But while she’s currently fourth in the world, her seat on the plane to Paris next summer is far from guaranteed.

GB’s criteria are that, in order to secure selection, Potter or one of her compatriots must both finish on the podium at the Paris Olympic Test Event in August and finish in the top three at the Grand Final in Spain the following month.

It’s quite a challenge, but Potter thinks she’s more than capable of meeting it. However, she is also aware of the dangers of getting too involved in a grueling Olympic qualification.

The easy way to look at things, Potter believes, is that Olympic selection will sort itself out as they win races in the coming weeks and months.

“I feel like I’m training really well and I’ve improved since winning in Abu Dhabi,” she says.

“I’m trying not to overthink the whole Olympic qualification thing. I know I’m one of the best in the country and one of the best in the world right now.

“So if I can get on the podium and win races then I can qualify for the Olympics.

A lot of that is also mental – it’s about believing that I belong there and I believe I can get on the podium every time now. Abu Dhabi has shown a top performance but now I feel like even if I’m a little behind I should still be at the top.”

Grace Reader

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