Joe Maloy is now a former professional triathlete.
Maloy, a Wildwood Crest resident who was the top American finisher in the men’s triathlon at the Rio Olympics in 2016, announced his retirement on his website Friday.
“I’ve been thinking about it for a while,” Maloy said Friday in a phone interview from Boston. “I realized that I couldn’t continue on the path I was on. I asked myself what advice would I give to someone in my position. And the answer is, if you’re not all in it, then it’s time to get out of it.”
Maloy, 31, was all in with triathlons for more than four years. He moved to the triathlon mecca of San Diego to train in preparation for the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
The hard work paid off. He placed 23rd overall among 55 competitors after completing the 1,500-meter swim, 40-kilometer bike and 10K run in 1 hour, 48 minutes, 30 seconds.
He briefly returned to San Diego to begin training but opted to move back to Wildwood Crest. The 2004 Wildwood Catholic High School and 2008 Boston College graduate had plans to defend his title in the Escape from Alcatraz race in San Francisco in June, as well as compete in the new Super League Triathlon series.
But he decided there was more to life than swimming, biking and running.
“I’m not surprised,” said Steve Del Monte, a local race promoter and one of Maloy’s good friends. “A lot of people his age have been in the traditional work force for years and have families. Joe put his entire life on hold to chase a dream, and he accomplished it. I told him he earned his PhD in attaining a goal that very few people are able to reach.
“Triathlon isn’t like baseball. You can’t just hang on for a couple of years and put a couple of million in the bank. It takes incredible sacrifice. All I can say is that I’m super happy for him.”
Maloy began to consider retirement a few weeks ago.
While visiting friends at Boston College, he attended Mass on the campus and was struck by the tone of the priest’s homily.
After the Mass, he knew his career was over.
“The priest was talking about how it’s impossible to serve two masters,” Maloy said. “I realized that I was doing too many things, and that I was in triathlon for all the wrong reasons. My passion for it just wasn’t there any more.
MIDDLE TOWNSHIP — About three weeks and 30 degrees ago, U.S. Olympic triathlete Joe Maloy II…
“It’s weird that I reached this decision at Boston College because that’s where I left to originally start training. I guess everything has come full circle.”
He has not done any swimming, biking or running for a week and has no immediate plans to do so. Lately, he’s been taking yoga classes to “clear my head” and has been working with one of his former college professors, Cathy Utzschneider, to help him figure out his future.
According to Maloy, she is a “goal-setting expert” who relies on the motto “Performance with perspective.”
Maloy, a former member of the Wildwood Crest Beach Patrol, is scheduled to return to Wildwood Crest this week.
His hometown will honor him for his accomplishments Wednesday and Thursday.
Philadelphia professional sports teams had a lousy year.
“I think I can speak for the entire Wildwoods when I say we’re all extremely proud of Joe,” Del Monte said. “He accomplished his dream, and he did it with class.”