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Kristin Armstrong at the Olympics.

Gold-medal Cyclist Kristin Armstrong Shows Olympic Athletes Don’t Have to Retire Young

Kristin Armstrong at the Olympics.

Kristin Armstrong at the Rio Games.

The 2016 Rio Olympics have featured a number of great Olympians, like Michael Phelps, who is doing it at an unreal age of 31 — and in his fourth Olympics. It has also featured a series of iconic moments, like Katie Ledecky shredding the field and her own world record in the 400-meter freestyle.

One athlete not getting enough publicity is someone who has captured both gold and an iconic moment in her third Olympic games. Kristin Armstrong won cycling gold in time trials. But that’s just the start of her story.

To being with, Armstrong’s win made her the first cyclist to win three straight gold medals in the same event.  She won on the day before her 43rd birthday, making her the oldest female individual Olympic gold medalist since 1908.  She also did it while raising her six-year-old son and holding a full-time job as the director of community health at St. Luke’s Community Hospital in her home of Boise, Idaho.  

Related: For Chris Mosier, the Olympics’ First Out Trans Athlete, Competing Means Something More

Armstrong retired after her gold-medal performance in the 2012 Olympics, but decided to give it another go in Rio. But she made the decision to return only last year.

“It was the hardest of my Olympic journeys,” she said, according to the New York Times.  

With that, she has been a pioneer for athletes and women who are getting older, making it clear that they can still do amazing things.

“I think that for so long we’ve been told that we should be finished at a certain age. And I think that there’s a lot of athletes out there that are actually showing that that’s not true.

“For all the moms out there, I hope that this was a very inspiring day,” she said after she won her gold medal, according to NPR.  

Armstrong also had one of the more incredible and iconic moments of these games.  As she crossed the finish line in her race, she wasn’t sure of her what her time was, and whether she was won gold.  She turned to someone at the finish line and asked “Did I win?”  When she found that she did indeed, she went down to the pavement in the fetal position. 


Congrats to Armstrong.  



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