Endurance: Lisa Norden

It doesn't get any closer than this

December, 26, 2012
12/26/12
3:50
PM ET
Lisa Norden, Nicola SpirigBen Stansall/AFP/Getty ImagesLisa Norden and Nicola Spirig pushed each other to the finish of the women's triathlon in London.
We asked the editors at Triathlete.com for the top 12 moments in their sport from 2012. Let's pick it up from the top:

1. Women's Olympic finish
The sprint finish between Switzerland's Lisa Norden and Sweden's Nicola Spirig was one for the books -- even at the finish line, spectators, officials and the athletes themselves weren't sure who had taken gold until they showed the photo finish. Spirig won by inches.

2. Crowie edging Cameron Brown at Ironman Melbourne
The high-caliber field at March's inaugural Ironman Melbourne made for an exciting race, but the highlight was the stride-for-stride marathon between veterans Craig "Crowie" Alexander of Australia and Cameron Brown of New Zealand. Alexander eventually opened a gap after mile 20 and won the race in 7:57:44.

3. Rev3's Cedar Point finish
At the June Rev3 Cedar Point race, 49-year-old Patti Jackson, a cancer survivor and member of the U.S. Air Force, was still on the course, with an anticipated finish of over 19 hours. Instead of closing up shop, owner Charlie Patten and his staff, the volunteers, the police and Jackson's tri club Team Z stayed out to support her. The DJ downloaded her favorite song (Tina Turner"s "Simply the Best"), the medical and massage teams stayed to help at the finish and Rev3 held off their elaborate fireworks display until she made it across around 2:30 a.m.

4. Sebastian Kienle proving he can run in Vegas
Germany's Sebastian Kienle went from a relative unknown to one of the biggest names on the long-course circuit with his stellar performance on Sept. 9 in Henderson, Nev., at the Ironman World Championship 70.3. The 28-year-old overcame a slow swim to come off the bike with a three-minute lead over the sport's fastest runners. Kienle went on to outlast the athletes behind him, including defending champion Craig Alexander of Australia, and run a 1:16:46 half marathon to take the 70.3 world title.

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Lisa Norden is ready for long course

December, 4, 2012
12/04/12
5:59
PM ET
Lisa Norden Adam Pretty/Getty ImagesNicola Spirig had just enough left in the tank to hold off Lisa Norden in the Olympic triathlon.
After sprinting for the gold medal (and winning silver) at the London Olympics in August, Sweden's Lisa Norden won the biggest prize purse in the sport at the Hy-Vee 5150 U.S. Championship in September and the overall ITU World Triathlon Series championship, earning her the runner-up position as Triathlete magazine's "Female Athlete of the Year" to Leanda Cave. We caught up with the newly minted short-course world champion at the start of her offseason.

What's your one lasting memory of this season?

It's definitely the sprint for the medal in the Olympics. That's the strongest picture I have for 2012. The photo finish picture comes to mind thinking back to what happened this year.

Do you look back on that as a tremendous success or with a little regret?

I view it as a major, major [success]. That's one of my life's achievements. I got everything together in terms of execution of the race and tactics. I did come up a bit short, but all summed up, it was the best race I've probably ever performed.

What was going through your mind coming down the finish chute at the Olympics when you were neck-and-neck with Nicola [Spirig, the eventual gold medalist]?

Actually, I didn't have too much on my mind. It was that beautiful moment where I came onto the finishing carpet and put my head down and accelerated. I knew this was the moment; this is where I had to do what I knew I needed to do. I tried to go with her and my body was responding and I was responding. I didn't see the crowd, the only thing I saw was that finishing line and I just had to dig as deep as I could and get as much as I could out of myself and pray to the gods up there that I was quick enough. At that moment there wasn't too much -- just that big, big focus on the finish line. Trying to feel my body and feel that coordination and power inside myself and [feel] what my feet were doing. I was really kind of within myself.

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