U.S. Olympic Triathlete Hunter Kemper On Being An Olympic Veteran
U.S. triathlete Hunter Kemper, 36, served as one of the grizzled veterans at the London Olympics, having also competed in Sydney in 2000, Athens in 2004 and Beijing in 2008. And while Kemper did not achieve his goal of medaling in London, ultimately finishing in 14th place in the triathlon, he left his lasting mark on the sport he helped shape for his entire career. Like most Olympians, Kemper, born in Charlotte, N.C., and raised in Longwood, Fla., was drawn to his sport at a young age. Kemper competed in his first triathlon at age 10 and won five straight IronKids titles by the time he was 14. He continued his athletic dominance in high school, where he attended Lake Brantley High School and amassed 12 varsity letters in cross country, swimming and track and field. At Wake Forest University, Kemper was named All-Academic Atlantic Coast Conference four straight years and earned All-ACC honors as a senior. In 2008 he was inducted into the Wake Forest Hall of Fame. Kemper went on to dominate on the post-collegiate circuit, and in 2005 he was ranked No.1 both in the world and by the International Triatholon Union (ITU), the first male American to achieve the feat. In the same year he earned Male Sportsman of the Year honors by the United States Olympic Committee. But despite all of these accomplishments, Kemper might be best known as the first triathlete to grace the cover of a Wheaties box. Kemper alluded to the London Games as his final Olympic participation, but for the man who keeps on coming back, even he isn’t totally sure where he’ll be four years from now. “I don’t know how much longer I’m going to be doing it. This easily could be my last go-around,” Kemper told Uinterview exclusively. “You never know, that’s the thing. That’s why, for me, I want to take it all in every time I go.” And if Kemper elects to step away, all is not lost. The time off will give him the chance to enjoy his favorite treats. “I definitely love my share of Double-Stuffed Oreos, you name it, M&M’s. And that’s the thing. Your diet is so stringent beforehand, when you get done [with the race] you just want that [feeling] of ‘Let me just have something that I wasn’t supposed to have.'”
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