Helen Jenkins is a British professional triathlete and the 2008 and 2011 ITU World Champion. In 2009 she placed 3rd at the Grand Final of the World Championship Series in Gold Coast, in 2011 she is number 1 in the World Championship Series (August 2011) and thanks to the London World Championship Series gold (6 August 2011) she secured a spot at the London Olympics 2012. She finished 5th in the London triathlon event, the highest position achieved by a British triathlete at an Olympic Games.
First off, we have to ask – what was it like performing in front of the home crowd at the Olympics? Honestly? It’s hard to describe, it’s not something I’ll experience again as a triathlete. It’s strange to think footballers have it every week, albeit on a smaller scale. When you’re running you can normally hear yourself and the sounds of the other runners around you, but the crowd was so loud you couldn’t hear even hear your own breathing! I found the support I received afterwards incredible as well. I didn’t have my best race, and that’s always difficult to get round but when you’re surrounded by lovely, supportive fans it makes it a bit easier.
In your own words, what do you do? I am a two time world champion triathlete.
Who is your greatest influence in your career/life? It would have to be my husband- he is also my coach. He started coaching me in 2007, without any intention for it to be long term, but since my results were getting better and better something was clearly working so we carried on! Since he’s an athlete too it’s great to train together.
Which is your favourite part of your job? I realised recently how much I love working towards a goal. I’m now on a break and having no aim or nothing to work towards feels very odd.
Which is the part that you enjoy the least? The 5am starts for training, without a doubt.
What is your greatest achievement? I recently won the World Championship Series in London, which I’m pretty pleased about.
What was your Plan B? Nursing. After A Levels it was a choice between nursing and triathlons I chose the latter, and once I started getting paid didn’t look back! I’d still like to get into nursing after I finish my career as a triathlete.
What is your most prized possession?My dog, a chocolate Labrador called Barney. He’s 10 so getting on a bit.
What’s the best advice you’ve been given? Stay focused on what you’re doing. It’s easy to go through the motions but really concentrating on your task will get you a lot more out of it.
Please complete the sentence… I could not live without… My iphone. Quite sad I know but my life is on that thing!
Favourite restaurant? In which city? Nobu in Las Vegas. I wasn’t even a particular sushi fan before going but the food was incredible.
Stella McCartney is one of our brands with The Mark of Positive Living, and her Team GB kit was subject to some debate. What did you think of it? I honestly really liked it, I think we really stood out. There are so many countries with red, white and blue on their kit, but I think ours was really distinctive. You could easily spot Team GB in the Athletes Village.
Do you support a charity or cause? I’m a patron of ASH Wales, a Welsh charity tackling tobacco use in young people, and as a dog lover I also support the Dog’s Trust.
What’s on your Xmas wishlist? I haven’t really thought about it! I’m not fussy, I’d quite like a nice necklace, some jewellery- but nothing particularly fancy.
What is your personal luxury? After training having a bath with some nice products is always lovely. I’ve just discovered Cowshed’s stuff which is great.
What steps do you take to make your life more positive? It’s important to stay positive when training, as this in turn keeps you motivated. I remind myself not to take my eye off the competition, and try and remember that as much as I may want an extra half an hour in bed there will be someone out there in the pool or on the track training- they’re the ones I have to think about!