BEN SHEMAN, ISRAEL — Adrian Jackson (AUS) won double Gold Medals last week in both the Sprint and Long Distance events, making him the only athlete, and Australia the only country, to win two gold medals at the 2009 MTBO World Championships. At the beginning of the MTBO Worlds event on August 11th in Ben Sheman, Israel, Jackson found himself trailing during the Middle Distance final that made him the Middle Distance World Champion last year.
In last years match-up, Jackson had taken the gold in the Middle Distance event during the 2008 MTBO Worlds in Poland with a time of 54:13, while Torbjørn Gasbjerg (DEN) had finished in 8th-place with a time of 57:14, and Lasse Brun Pedersen (DEN) had completed the event in distant 31st-place with a time of 63:32. This year’s race was considerably different. This time his fifth-place finish with a time of 59:19, was almost 3-minutes slower than the winner, Torbjørn Gasbjerg (DEN) who finished first with a time of 56:27. and placed him behind Lasse Brun Pedersen (DEN), who finished a respectable 3rd-place this year with a time of 57:17 to win the Bronze Medal.
Adrian Jackson, however, may have been down during the Middle Distance event, was far from out. Two days of solid rest seemed to be all Jackson needed as he bounced back on August 14th to win Gold in the Sprint Distance event with a time of 23:19, beating out his closet competitor Lasse Brun Pedersen (DEN) by only a mere 11-seconds. This was a huge improvement for Jackson over his last year’s Sprint Distance race that found him in 6th-place with a time of 20:55 and Pedersen in 1st-place with a time of 19:43.
The next day, Jackson further reminded everyone why he is this year’s top MTBO champion during the Long Distance event on August 15th. In a major display of athleticism, Jackson took the Gold Medal with a time of 01:32:41, soundly beating his rival Lasse Brun Pedersen (DEN) again, only this time by over 5-minutes (placing Pedersen in 4th-Place) and leaving Torbjørn Gasbjerg (DEN) in the dust with a disappointing 6th-place finish and almost 7-minutes behind Jackson with a time of 01:38:56. After finishing in 6th-place last year behind Gasbjerg’s Silver Medal victory, Jackson’s Gold Medal victory over the Long Distance event certainly marked the highlight of this year’s MTBO Worlds event.
Now with two Gold Medals around his neck, the most over any other athlete or country competing in the 2009 MTBO World Championships, Adrian Jackson is sure to be considered the MTBO Athlete of the Year.