-- For two years Kristin Armstrong
has been completely focused on one goal: Olympic gold
. On Wednesday, in front of a huge crowd gathered at London's Hampton Court Palace, the American achieved that goal, winning Olympic gold for the second time in her career.
Putting the finishing touches on a stellar career, Armstrong powered her Felt DA
to a win in the Olympic time trial, successfully defending the gold medal she won in Beijing four years ago.
The win in London also signified a dramatic conclusion to Armstrong’s professional racing career. The 38-year-old from Boise, Idaho, had hung up her wheels after winning gold at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, saying she wanted to start a family. But two years ago, just after giving birth to her son Lucas, she decided to come back, with a goal of winning gold in London.
“When I came back, everyone asked me why in the world would I come back,” she said after her win in London. “And the reason I came back was because the feeling I got in Beijing, nothing could top that.”
Racing in cool, damp conditions in ths streets of Southwest London, Armstrong was the last of the 24 women to start, and she came out of the gates strong in the 29km race against the clock. She hit the first time check 1.51 seconds ahead of the previous fastest time, set by New Zealand’s Linda Villumsen.
Armstrong pushed hard all the way to the finish, saying she was never sure if she had won until she crossed the finish line. She beat silver medalist Judith Arndt of Germany by 15.47 seconds. Russian Olga Zabelinskaya finished third for bronze.
After crashing in the road race on Sunday, Armstrong said her dream was nearly derailed. “I had my doubts a couple days ago,” she said. “I just needed to give it everything if I really wanted it.”
And now, with a second gold medal in hand, Armstrong confirmed that she will go out on top. “I am now officially retired,” she said.