This Day In Sports: Two ways to celebrate Kristin Armstrong

August 10, 2016: One day shy of her 43rd birthday, Boise cyclist Kristin Armstrong wins her third straight gold medal in the women’s time trial at the Rio Olympics, mounting a fierce sprint into a headwind to overcome a 2.2-second deficit and win by 5.5 seconds.Weeks earlier, she had survived an arbitration attempt by two rivals through USA Cycling to bump her off the Olympic team. Armstrong, the oldest cyclist ever to win a gold medal, retired as the most decorated athlete in U.S. Olympic cycling history. She and speed skater Bonnie Blair are the only female athletes ever to win the same event in three consecutive Olympics.

USA Cycling took some heat for including Armstrong on the 2016 Olympic team, as she had been competing for less than two years since her last retirement. Some wondered how hard she would work for her teammates in the road race three days prior to the time trial, and some questioned her age. But USA Cycling stuck with her. Kristin did work hard for the team in the road race, and she had plenty left for her historic ride in the time trial.

Armstrong had retired after winning the 2009 world time trial championship to have son Lucas, but she mounted a comeback in 2011—then retired again after winning gold in the 2012 London Games. Kristin stayed retired for almost three years before returning to the sport in April of 2015. It was after her triumph in Rio that she retired for good.

After returning from the 2016 Games, the city of Boise rededicated 98-year-old Municipal Park as Kristin Armstrong Municipal Park. The facility thus became part of Boise’s “Ribbon of Jewels,” the parks named after prominent female civic leaders. (The major parks in the ribbon, in addition to Kristin Armstrong, are Julia Davis, Ann Morrison, Kathryn Albertson, Esther Simplot and Marianne Williams.)

You can do the math. If her gold medal in Rio in 2016 came one day before her 43rd birthday, then Kristin turns 50 years old on Friday. If you’ve seen her lately, you know she looks like she could still ride—and win. Happy birthday to the G.O.A.T.

(Tom Scott hosts the Scott Slant segment during the football season on KTVB’s Sunday Sports Extra. He also anchors four sports segments each weekday on 95.3 FM KTIK and one on News/Talk KBOI. His Scott Slant column runs every Wednesday.)

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