Kristin Armstrong doesn’t need another glowing essay to add to the adulation her beloved Boise heaps upon her at every turn.
We celebrate her triumphant return from Rio and join the community in congratulating her for victories in the Olympics and her example as a role model.
Like the city leaders who commend her and the children who look up to her, we are proud of this Boise cyclist, mom and wife who doubles as a three-time gold medalist.
Yet we are not writing this just for Armstrong, who deserves every word of praise lofted her way.
We are writing this for us.
There have been some awful moments in this world since the 2012 Olympics in London, where Armstrong won her second straight gold medal in the time trial. Terrorist attacks across the globe. Racial strife in our American cities. Citizens and police officers tragically gunned down in the streets. Political vitriol flung in all directions from all sides — highlighted by a presidential campaign now involving two of the most unpopular candidates in history.
We needed some respite. We needed the story of Armstrong, who, at age 42 (she just turned 43), went to Rio on a mission to represent her city, her state and her country in a competition few predicted she could win.
As tough as she is on herself in training and by the goals she sets, she has this other side, where her humanity is unleashed to our benefit. She is not at all afraid to tear up and embrace her fans, especially the children — an experience they will share with their children. She has been one of the most gracious ambassadors for sport this region may ever see.
And how we needed that, to restore some of our faith in people and to, perhaps, hit the reset button of our spirits to take on the future.
In a Statesman video she short-stepped her way through the airport, pausing every two inches to greet her fans, pose for photos and inhale the gratitude of Boise — and thereby so many of us felt renewed.
“There’s no place like Boise on Earth,” she said. “You have to believe in yourself and your friends.”
Her beaming smile and humble acceptance of her celebrity are reassuring in these troubled times. When she is honored by a parade on Sunday, Aug. 28, we can all share in her accomplishments, because she has convinced us she could never have done it without us.
One man said it best: “Thank you, Kristin, from the bottom of my heart, for representing Boise and all you do.”
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