After making history at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro by winning her third gold medal in cycling, Kristin Armstrong was welcomed home by a crowd of about 100 people at the Boise Airport.
She landed about 1 p.m. Monday and met the supporters, who chanted “Armstrong” and “USA.”
“She got a gold medal for America again,” said Addie Smith, one of the school-age children who made up about half of the exuberant crowd.
Armstrong took her time with each fan who approached her, signing shirts and taking photos with them. She hugged several people who offered their congratulations and thanked her for her achievement. Each person who wanted a moment with her got one.
“You know Boise, Idaho, is unlike any other place on Earth,” Armstrong said, surrounded by the crowd. “I try to explain to other Olympians what it’s like and I’ve had this welcome before and I anticipated another great welcome and it never ceases to amaze me. I think this is the biggest yet.”
With her latest victory, Armstrong is one of two American women — the other is speed skater Bonnie Blair — to win three gold medals in the same Olympics event. Armstrong also won time trial gold in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing and the 2012 Olympics in London.
Armstrong said she was eager to get back to her own bed and watch the Olympics from her couch. After that, she’s excited to get into classrooms and encourage children to shoot for their dreams, she said.
“This medal is just material for me,” she said. “I’ll go speak to schools. I’ll try to inspire them. But at the end of the day, it’s the journey.”
The Idaho Statesman captured her arrival on Facebook Live:
The Boise mayor’s office is planning a celebration for Armstrong Aug. 28, though the specifics haven’t been ironed out, said spokesperson Mike Journee.