American cyclist Kristin Armstrong has claimed her third consecutive gold medal in the women’s cycling time trial at the Rio Olympics.
The veteran battled through the rain and mist to defeat Russia’s Olga Zabelinskaya and last week’s women’s road race gold medallist Anna Van Der Breggan.
“This is why I came back,” Armstrong said. “To listen to the national anthem.
“I had two choices. I could say, ‘Oh this is awful, I don’t want to race today,’ or I could say, ‘Hey, you know what? I have experience in the rain. I can do this.’ I took the latter and kept my mind positive.”
When asked if she would return for a fourth gold in Tokyo in 2020, the 42-year-old was realistic. “I think any athlete would like to keep coming back, but there does come a point where you won’t be able to perform at that level any longer,” she said. “Tomorrow is my birthday and I think I’ve probably pushed it to the maximum level at the age I am.”
Katrin Garfoot placed best for Australia in 9th place.
In the men’s event, Fabian Cancellara from Switzerland reclaimed gold with a time of one hour, 12 minutes and 15 seconds.
The 35-year-old, who won in Beijing in 2008, blitzed the race in Rio, defeating Tom Dumoulin of the Netherlands by 47 seconds and reigning Tour de France champion Chris Froome of Great Britain by more than a minute.
Cancellara, who plans on retiring at the end of the season, said the hard work had paid off.
“I put 16 years on the table,” Cancellara said. “Perfect day. Perfect day to make history. I was just super focused and concentrated. I was just ready and I went out and did what I had to do.”
Cancellara was tested but his experience shone through at the end. Australian rider Rohan Dennis was out of the medals put up a good effort to finish 5th. – Jesse Mullens
Photo of Kristin Armstrong from the Rio 2016 Twitter feed.