Hard work has always been Erin Dolan’s thing. After four years of swimming at Drury University and two national championships, she thought she was ready to hang it up.
“I was done from swimming,” said Dolan. “I didn't want to swim anymore and needed a break. Within two months I was back in the water.”
She also picked up running and did that during her one year at grad school. She did it solely because she wanted to stay in shape, but after graduation, Dolan started doing triathlons. She was so good, agents were telling her to turn professional.
“I was like 'oh my gosh. I'm a pro? When did this happen.' Then you start getting sponsorships. It's definitely not where I thought I would be,” said Dolan.
Dolan lives in Bentonville and competes in races around the area. She says the local fans ignite a passion.
“People are so excited to see professional athletes,” said Dolan. “They say, 'will you sign this?’ I'm not an Olympian, but it's fun that people get excited about what you're doing.”
Only one year into racing, Dolan is already on Team USA in a group of just four women. So the 2016 Olympics are already on her mind.
“Rio is still two years away,” said Dolan. “Obviously making it there would be awesome, but just to be one of the top athletes at the world level is what I'm hoping."
At 24 years old Dolan has a ton of potential and so many lofty goals. However, it’s those little steps that keep her going.
“This is super weird but when you cross the finish line at a triathlon there's a ribbon,” said Dolan. Whoever crosses first gets to hold up the ribbon. That's kind of like my dream right now.”
On April 18, Dolan heads to the biggest event of her life with Team USA, the world games in Brazil. It’s not too far from Rio, in more ways than one.