SportsEvents Magazine

NOV 2016

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Page 38 of 59 November 2016 39 The locals of Boise know the heart and soul of their champion, who became the first woman to win the same event three times in the Summer Olympics in August. Armstrong has retired twice from cycling only to return to win the gold in London in 2012 and Rio this year. When asked why she came out of retire- ment, Armstrong simply said, "Because I can." FOCUS ON HEALTH Armstrong applies that attitude to every- thing in her life. When she isn't racing, her tunnel vision turns to Boise and Idaho, and the health of everyone around her as Community Health Director for St. Luke's Health System. She has helped build tracks for grade- school kids to walk and run on during recess, has championed bike riding for youngsters and looks to continue her quest to make Idaho home to many healthy, happy people. "It's a difficult job," Armstrong said the day before her celebration as she enjoyed a glass of juice at a coffee shop in Hyde Park. "I hope to see changes in my lifetime. We have problems with childhood obesity, not just in Idaho but all across the country. We have children getting adult diseases. We need to focus on getting kids off to a healthy start in life." Hearing messages like that from a neigh- bor who just happens to be known across the world as an Olympic champion inspires the folks of Boise and fuels their love affair with Armstrong. But Armstrong hopes her achievements can help inspire more than her neighbors. Armstrong headlined a powerful perfor- mance by USA's women cyclists in Rio. In addition to Armstrong's gold, the American quartet of Kelly Catlin, Chloe Dygert, Sarah Hammer, and Jennifer Valente brought home a silver medal in the team pursuit on the track after breaking a world record in the semifinals. Hammer added a silver medal in the omnium. Later in BMX, Alise Post added a silver medal. "That's an amazing set of results," Arm- strong said. "Women's cycling in the U.S. has come a long way." SIGNATURE MOMENT It just might be the non-medal winning performance in the road race by Colorado's Mara Abbott that might have done more to capture America's attention for the sport. Millions watched Abbott's spirited solo breakaway fall short in heart-wrenching style when she was passed by three riders in the final 150 meters, leaving her in fourth place in her final race. Abbott's performance created a buzz throughout the country — the type of signature moment to capture the essence of women's cycling that officials in the sport have been searching for every four years since Connie Paraskevin-Young won gold in Los Angeles in 1984. "Just look at the road race in Rio," ► t SPORT Report BOISE CONVENTION & VISITORS BUREAU Boise is many things. Wild and relaxing. Urban and outdoorsy. Friendly and unforgettable. Just minutes (really) from downtown you can float a river, taste award- winning wines, bike, fish, golf and more. Experience Boise.

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