Nobody turns the statement ‘jack of all trades, master of none’ into more of a fallacy than Kristen Hetzel, who is a worldNo7 duathlete, actress, model, physical therapist and holds a degree in biochemistry.
Hetzel has been an athlete all her life and dabbled in every sport before committing herself to duathlon. Many may consider it to be inferior to triathlon, but Kristen thinks otherwise and recently qualified to represent Team USA in the 2018 Duathlon World Championships.
She took some time out of her busy schedule to chat with Sport360 about her journey.
My name is Kristen Hetzel and I am from Wheeling, West Virginia. I am a Duathlete on Team USA. I have qualified to be on Team USA each year for the World Champion ships since 2012, and have been a Duathlon All-American for the last six years.
I am currently seventh in the world in my division. I am also a Doctor of Physical Therapy, and do modelling and acting in Los Angeles, where I currently reside.
That is a good question. I love all three parts of my careers (my athletics, physical therapy, and acting/ modelling) but I would say being a duathlete is what I love the most and brings me the most joy.
It is what I choose to give the majority of my time and attention to, and I have been doing it long enough that I understand the sport well; how to train, how to race, and how to recover.
I am excited and honoured to participate in the 2018 Duathlon World Championships in Denmark. Denmark is a place I have always wanted to visit.
Having the opportunity to combine a trip to Denmark with representing my country and competing in a sport that I love is the best. I am very much looking forward to it.
I have a unique perspective on this because I also do triathlons. My primary event is the duathlon, but my racing season each year consists of competitive triathlons as well.
I, therefore, do not think that the duathlon is easier, and in many ways it is harder. During the swim portion of a triathlon, you are primarily using your upper body.
Yes, you use your legs for kicking but it is a very different motion — different mechanics — than how you use your legs while running or biking. Then you do the bike and run portion of the triathlon.
In duathlon, you run, then bike, then run again. So your legs are already tired from the first run, are very fatigued and worked. Thenthose leg muscles hammer on the bike, and then have to come back again and finish hard with a second run.
Many duathletes have the most trouble on the second run. They may be able to run hard once, but on the second run, the legs may be too fatigued to hold a fast pace.
The duathlon is gaining more recognition. The sport of triathlon has evolved to where it is now a well-known and highly respected event. The duathlon is newer and therefore is still evolving as a sport, but is definitely gaining more respect and popularity.
Even since 2012, when I first began the sport of duathlon, it has become much more popular and much more competitive.
I pretty much train twice a day every day. Some days I have three training sessions. I have a professional coach who designs my workouts, Marilyn Chychota with Endurance Corner. She’s amazing.
Since I train for all three sports (swimming, biking and running), my workouts vary. One day might be run-bike workouts and the next day might be swim-run workouts, or run-bike-run workouts. I also do strength training and weightlifting in the gym.
As for my diet, I eat a fairly balanced diet. I definitely eat plenty of quality protein like chicken, beef or fish, pasta and vegetables. I also have a lot of protein smoothies with pea protein powder and fruits.
I want to keep improving and growing in the sport of duathlon so I can achieve my potential. On the acting side of things, I would like to do more commercials, and get more into film and TV.
Believe in yourself, trust yourself, and love yourself. Believe that you can achieve whatever you put your mind to and that you are worth it.
Trust that you know what’s best for you. No one else can ever decide what is best for you, or tell you what brings you joy, or what you are passionate about, only you can choose and decide that.
Two years on from sleeping rough in Budapest on a perilous trek from Syria to Germany, teenage refugee Yusra Mardini is back in the Hungarian capital competing in the world swimming championships.
“I promised myself I’d come back to Budapest another way,” the 19-year-old told reporters on Sunday after finishing her 100m butterfly heat.
Now based in Berlin, Mardini gained international attention after surviving near-drowning trying to reach Greece in 2015.
A year later she won her heat in the Rio Olympics as part of the Games’ first ever refugee team.
During a 25-day journey from her war-ravaged homeland, Mardini used her swimming skills to help drag a leaking dinghy carrying 16 people to the Greek shore, after the engine broke down.
“My sister (Sara) jumped into the water first, then I jumped in after her, (with two men) we had one hand each on the boat and tried to swim and kick to shore,” she said.
After more than three hours in the water they arrived on the island of Lesbos, and trekked northwards before getting stuck in Budapest for a week.
Hungary became a hotspot of the migration crisis in mid-2015, after the authorities temporarily blocked onward travel to neighbouring Austria and Germany, which transformed Budapest’s railway stations into vast makeshift refugee camps.
“I slept on the floor, in the train stations, it was really horrible,” she said.
The country’s fiercely anti-immigration Prime Minister Viktor Orban later erected razor-wire fences along the southern borders to keep out migrants altogether.
“Then, I thought that people were really rude, my coach was afraid, when I said I was going to go back (to Budapest) again, but now it’s completely different, so I changed my point of view about the people of Hungary, it’s really cool this week,” she said.
“I totally understand the people and their fears, I would have the same fears, but the problem is that people are not trying to get open for it even.
“I’m not saying that the refugees are 100 per cent amazing and angels, all over the world in countries there are good people and bad people, this is how we are also.”
After Rio, which she called “a dream come true”, she says she is “excited and happy” to swim in another major meet, where she also competes in the 200m freestyle discipline.
In Berlin she focuses on swimming and learning German, and hopes one day to fulfil another dream: swimming for Syria.
“I will wait to see what will happen, of course I will never forget also what Germany did for me, so yes I hope that I am going to represent both countries in a good way,” she said.
A film about Mardini’s life is in the works, while she plans to begin writing a book after the world championships.
* Provided by AFP
After weeks of being off the air in the UAE, beIN Sports channels have returned in the emirates, much to the joy of sports fans across the country.
The Qatar-based channel was back on television on Saturday morning following more than a month of being blocked and showing a blue screen.
Etisalat sent subscribers a text message saying “normal charges will apply”, while adding that the “provision of the beIN package will be subject to an ongoing review”.
Sports fans in UAE can rejoice: beIN Sports is back! pic.twitter.com/8JaEHokulA— Sport360° (@Sport360) July 22, 2017
The channel went off the air when the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt severed ties with Qatar in June due to political differences.
Sports fans can now take solace as the channel returns just in time for the start of the new Premier League season on August 12, while also bringing back Spanish La Liga, Formula 1, the NBA and more.