Three-time Olympic gold medalist Kristin Armstrong on Sunday became the latest Boise woman added to the city’s Ribbon of Jewels — a network of parks running through the city center — after Municipal Park was renamed after the cyclist.
Boise Mayor Dave Bieter unveiled the park’s new signage at Kristin’s Gold Games Celebration, a welcome home fete for Armstrong after her recent time-trial triumph at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics. The 28-acre park, located at 500 S. Walnut St., is one of Boise’s oldest.
“If it wasn’t my favorite park yesterday, it’s my favorite park today,” joked Armstrong, who also holds a Key to the City and has an 8-mile stretch of Bogus Basin Road and a 0.6-mile children’s bike trail in Boise Hills Park named for her.
For Armstrong’s friends and fans alike, the dedication seemed fitting.
“You think about what is a suitable honor for someone who has accomplished this much, and a park exemplifies what she stands for,” said David Duro, president and CEO of the Treasure Valley YMCA. Duro once worked as Armstrong’s boss at the Y. He joined three local children to present Armstrong with additional awards from the organization during her celebration.
“It’s the perfect park,” added Boisean Ken Saville, who had cycled to the event. “It’s a gateway to the Greenbelt and to Lucky Peak and one of the greatest parks to bike through.”
Armstrong, who works as director of community health at St. Luke’s Regional Medical Center, said she looks forward to working more with youth at the newly renamed park. That mission was off to a great start Sunday, as the rest of the celebration included Giant Jenga, foot races and more for kids, with Armstrong presenting the race winners with their very own gold medals.
“She’s been a big influence on my children,” said attendee Kent Miller, whose 18-year-old son and 15-year-old daughter have attended cycling events with Armstrong. “They’ve gotten to ride with her, so to meet someone who’s done all of this — it’s big.”
And, Miller said, Armstrong’s success is a big win for the Boise bicycling community in terms of courtesy, safety and awareness, as well as the creation of more bike lanes and trails.
While Armstrong has certainly made Idaho history, she’s made Olympic history as well —she’s one of two American women to take home three golds in the same event. Armstrong also won the time trial in 2008’s Beijing Games and in 2012’s London Olympics.
“I’m the same age as her, so I was like, ‘That’s pretty awesome,’ when she won (in Rio),” said attendee Natalie Bodine, calling Armstrong an inspiration. “I think she’s so much a part of our community that it’s extra special. She’s one of us.”
So, what inspires Armstrong?
“Here we are. Third time. Fourth Olympic games. And really, I think I figured out why I keep doing it,” Armstrong told the crowd of hundreds on Sunday. “It’s because of all of you.”
Nicole Blanchard: 377-6410; @NMBlanchard