Armstrong's gold dream comes true
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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Armstrong's gold dream comes true

by Agence France-Presse at 9:09 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
Whenever Kristin Armstrong does anything worthy of note, she gets the inevitable question.

And on Wednesday the newly-crowned women's Olympic time trial champion gave the same, well-rehearsed answer: "No, I'm not related to (Lance Armstrong) but we have a lot of similarities."

As well as a common background in triathlon, the 35-year-old Armstrong has one other thing in common with the seven-time Tour de France winner - winning a world title.

Lance won his at the road championships in 1993, while Kristin won her maiden world time trial crown in 2006 at Salzburg in Austria. But it was a year before then, when she took bronze at the world championshiips in Madrid, that her childhood dream of Olympic gold really began to take shape.

"At Madrid (2005) I knew I wanted to be a medallist in Beijing," explained Armstrong, who began her sporting career as a world class runner and swimmer before injury prompted her to take up cycling. "When I won the world champs in Salzburg (2006) I knew I wanted to come and get the (gold) medal."

A year later, in 2007, Armstrong - who was born into a military family in Memphis, Tennessee - could only finish second as Germany's Hanka Kupfernagel took the world title in Stuttgart. It was arguably that result which changed the American's focus. Giving up the world famous rainbow jersey was hard to do, but it reinforced her hunger to prepare for Beijing.

"At Stuttgart it was difficult to give up the rainbow jersey, but it was a blessing in disguise," she added. "It was a kind of wake up call that I just can't show up and win. It remotivated me and made me focus on the little things."

In Germany, Armstrong prompted comparisons with another Tour de France champion. Apart from Greg Lemond, she is the only American to claim three world championship medals.

Armstrong said she worked hard in a bid to achieve her childhood dream. Now, she is looking forward to getting back to Boise in Idaho to get used to the idea. "There's a little luck in cycling. The Olympics only come every four years and to time things perfect for one day as an athlete is tough," she said. "I can't wait to go back to Boise and be real, be myself and enjoy the moment."
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