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Armstrong now has 3 golds on 2 wheels

Cyclist Kristin Armstrong sported a patriotic helmet for the women’s individual time trial Wednesday.

AP

Cyclist Kristin Armstrong sported a patriotic helmet for the women’s individual time trial Wednesday.

Kristin Armstrong, who will turn 43 on Aug. 11, picked up her third gold in the women's time trial event. Armstrong — don't worry, no relation to Lance — won the event in Beijing in 2008 and again in London in 2012 before beating Russian Olga Zabelinskaya by more than five seconds in Rio.

Despite her longtime dominance, her win on Wednesday appeared to come as a surprise. As she slowed her bike after crossing the finish line, she asked, "Did I win?"

Yes. Yes, she did.

"I don't have words to describe it," she said after learning she won. "Today the stars aligned. I knew it was going to be a close race. My coach said to me, 'Okay, you decide what color medal you want to have.' I dug so deep."

Armstrong burst onto the cycling scene in 2004 by winning the national road-race championship. But it's the time trials, where cyclists race solo instead of in a bunch, where she's found the most success.

Besides her three Olympic wins, Armstrong has found herself on the podium in four world championship competitions, with one third-place, one second-place and two first-place finishes.

Amazingly, Armstrong does all this while raising a son, now 5, with her husband, Joe Savola, and holding down a full-time job as a community health director for a health system in Idaho, according to ESPN.

Armstrong has tried to leave cycling before — twice, actually — but the allure of new challenges kept bringing her back. In this case, it was a third gold medal and a chance to make history.

She and legendary speed skater Bonnie Blair are now the only two American women ever to win three gold medals at the Olympics in the same event.

"When you've already been two times at the pinnacle of the sport, why risk coming back for the gold medal? The best answer I can give is that I can," she told reporters on Wednesday.

Wednesday highlights

Americans Kerri Walsh Jennings and April Ross finished the Olympic group stage unbeaten, but not before losing their first set of the Games. The U.S. women beat Switzerland 21-13, 22-24, 15-12 to win their pool with a 3-0 record.

Dmitriy Balandin of Kazakhstan won the gold medal in the men's 200-meter breaststroke. Josh Prenot took the silver. In other swimming, London star Missy Franklin competed in the preliminaries of the 4x200-meter freestyle relay, but her time wasn't fast enough for the coaches to give her a spot in Wednesday night's final. Still, she would receive whatever medal the team earns in the final, as would the other preliminary swimmers. With Katie Ledecky as the anchor, the Americans are favored to win gold.

Carmelo Anthony scored 31 points on the night he became the U.S. men's Olympic career scoring leader, combining with Kyrie Irving for all of the Americans' baskets in the fourth quarter of a 98-88 victory over Australia.

All 26 matches slated for Day 5 of the tennis competition were postponed because of rain.

In case you missed it ...

With time running out, Catalina Usme beat Hope Solo with a free kick from a tight angle to give Colombia a 2-2 soccer draw against the United States in Manaus on Tuesday night. The city is a four-hour flight from Rio.

Shanking shots of all sorts, including five double-faults in one game alone, defending champion Serena Williams lost to Elina Svitolina of Ukraine 6-4, 6-3 in a third-round shocker Tuesday night in the women's tennis tournament. The defeat ended the No. 1-seeded Williams' bid to become the first tennis player to collect two singles golds.

Contributing: tbt* wires

Armstrong now has 3 golds on 2 wheels 08/10/16 [Last modified: Wednesday, August 10, 2016 10:58pm]
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