U of A triathlete heading to Rio for the Olympics

- Ben Kanute is a one-of-a-kind athlete and at the young age of 23, he's representing the USA in Rio de Janeiro for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games.

"I get to carry around the tag of being an Olympian forever," he said. "It's not you were an Olympian, you are always one."

Ben began racing as a professional in 2012. He graduated from the University of Arizona in 2014 and started training full-time to qualify for the Olympics.

"I'm super competitive," he said. "I love racing, I love pushing myself and I love watching racing."

His dream came true this summer in Yokahama, Japan.

"Everybody was on the same level going into this race, so it was kind of whoever performed the best in Yokohama would get on the team," he said.

This Olympian will swim just under a mile, bike 25 miles and top it all off with a 6.2 mile run.

"Out of the swimming, running and biking, what's your favorite?" Fox 10's Courtney Griffin asked.

"Uh, I hate this question... it's, I'd like to say, it changes, like that's why I do triathlon, that's why I love doing all three sports," he said.

Ben's dream to be an Olympian started at a very young age.

"I love the Olympics so much my mom will attest to this; I'll be sitting on the couch all day watching it," he said. "I've fallen asleep to ribbon dancing and all sorts of stuff."

He's dedicated countless hours to training and has spent a lot of time alone in the pool, and on the road working for something many only dream of.

"I can be training anywhere from 17 to 25 hours a week of actual training, and that doesn't include going to my physical therapist or massage or recovery," he said.

Ben also eats... a lot.

"I love food so my friends always joke I'm going to be the fat gym teacher  years away who's living in the glory days," he said. "It's hard to not eat a lot after you've been doing it for so long."

Ben says the most important thing is staying balanced.

"I have a social life, I like going out with friends (and) having dinner, having a drink, hanging out, I love coffee, like a lot, so I hang out in coffee shops," he said. "I try and get out and do a little something too because it's pretty easy to fall into a routine in just training and resting."

He's now training in Flagstaff before taking off for Rio and once he finally arrives, it's game on.

"I just want to try and have the best race that I can have," he said. "It's going to be really exciting to race in front of all of those people on that stage and the course is a really course too."

Ben's dedicated his life to being one of the best at what he does and no matter what the outcome in Rio, we know he'll be giving it his all while reppin' the red, white and blue.


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