ROTTERDAM, The Netherlands — A lost suitcase and cold, rainy conditions couldn’t dampen Cedarville University triathlete Grace Norman’s spirits, as she prepares for the ITU World Triathlon Grand Final, set for early Friday, Sept. 16 on the streets of Rotterdam.
Norman arrived in Rotterdam on Tuesday, but the suitcase that had her team uniform is believed to be somewhere in New Delhi, India. But a new uniform made it out to The Netherlands in time.
“God works in many ways, and this time it was through FedEx!” Robin Norman, Grace’s mom, said via email. According to Robin, the company that makes the Team USA triathlon suits — Roka — prepared a specially made suit for Grace on tuesday and it arrived in The Netherlands on Wednesday.
“As for the suitcase; it is still on its own tour!” Robin Norman said.
On Thursday, competitors braved 53-degree weather and cold rain as they familiarized themselves with the running, swimming and bicycling courses. Despite the rain, which is forecast for Friday’s race as well, the athletes swam in the frigid waters, and battled gale-force winds and slippery wet cobblestone streets.
Several paratriathlon athletes from other teams and Team USA donated items for Norman to use in the race, including a prosthetic sock for her running foot, and a pair of running shoes that happened to be Grace’s size.
The International Triathlon Union-sanctioned event will have three full days of racing, with Grace’s women’s paratriathlon event scheduled as the very first race on Friday, Sept. 15.
According to Robin Norman, “Many of the Netherlands high-level government officials, and even the royal family for the Netherlands, plan to be present tomorrow morning for the opening event.”
There appears to be a 6-hour time difference from Rotterdam, The Netherlands to Greene County, Ohio. With that in mind, the women’s elite paratriathlon championship is scheduled to start at 3 a.m. Eastern time.
According to the ITU World Triathlon Series website, the events can be seen online at triathlonlive.tv as well as on the NBC Olympic television channel.
Photos and information courtesy Robin Norman, as well as the International Triathlon Union. Story written by John Bombatch.