Idaho alumna is London-bound
Thirteen years after she received her sports physiology degree from the University of Idaho, road cyclist and time trial specialist Kristin Armstrong found herself center podium, receiving a gold medal for her first place finish in the women’s road time trial competition at the 2008 Beijing summer Olympics.
One year later, Armstrong announced that she would take a break from competitive cycling and focus on starting a family with her husband Joe. However, the Boise native’s cycling career was far from over and in 2011, she announced that she would start preparing for her third consecutive Olympic games.
Armstrong’s plans were nearly derailed one month ago, when she crashed during the prologue time trial of Boise’s Exergy Tour on May 24. The 38-year-old fractured her clavicle and was sent to a local hospital immediately. It took just one screw to repair the break and Armstrong was back at the Exergy Tour a day later, watching a teammate win the race’s first stage.
The minor setback prevented Armstrong from riding for just less than a week and on June 15, the Olympic selection committee nominated her to represent the United States in the women’s road race along with the time trial.
Armstrong may be a favorite to repeat in the time trial race, as she’s won all eight international-caliber races she’s entered this year.
In an interview with the Idaho Press Tribune, Armstrong, who coincidently is not related to the most decorated male road cyclist in history, said the injury will not hamper her preparation for the summer games.
“I want to show people that this injury is not going to be a hindrance for me going to London – I want to show people I’m strong and ready to fight,” Armstrong said. “… Nine weeks, with the fitness I have, it’s nothing.”
Armstrong was poised to win the race that she crashed out of, and as the favorite, she had set herself up to finish the time trial in less than four minutes. Her teammate, Theresa Cliff-Ryan, won the race with a time of 4:09.64.
By making a crowd appearance a day following the injury, Armstrong was on a mission to prove something to the selection committee that eventually made her a part of the Olympic team.
“I did want to show USA Cycling, I wanted to show my competitors, and if the selection committee was watching, I wanted to show them,” Armstrong told the Associated Press. “It might take me out for a few days, but it’s not going to keep me down.”
Whether it was her message to the committee, her previous success on the Olympic stage or her time trial dominance in 2012, Armstrong was worthy of her hard-earned spot and she’ll be wearing the red, white and blue of the USA in about a month’s time, seeking Olympic gold once again.
Theo Lawson can be reached at email@example.com