Last night I watched as 43-year-old mom Kristin Armstrong fell over on the road upon learning she'd won gold in Rio, her third consecutive Olympic win in individual road time trial. And in that moment, I could see everything she sacrificed to get to that point.
Armstong's son Lucas is 5 years old. He was right there at the finish line to watch his mom get the gold, yet again, and become both the first person in history to win the same Olympic cycling event three times in a row and the oldest woman to win an Olympic cycling gold. I won't lie; seeing them embrace pushed me over the edge, and I couldn't help but let the tears flow. Because I know what it's like to work so hard at something, and achieve your goals, and how much more meaning that has when you have kids.
Being a mom and a competitor, at anything, is quite simply twice as hard. But it's so worth it for the chance to show your children that they can do anything they set their minds to. When Armstrong hugged Lucas, I felt that from her. So hard.
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"It was the hardest of my Olympic journeys," Armstrong (no relation to Lance) told The New York Times about this win, which came after she had announced her retirement after the last Summer Olympics. "We've been told we should be finished at a certain age, but there are a lot of athletes out there who are showing that's not true," the medal-winning mom said.
I know I'm not the only mother who is deeply inspired and touched by Armstong's story. Incidentally, she claims she will not compete in the 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo. Yeah, we'll see.
Melissa Willets is a writer/blogger and a mom. Follow her on Twitter (@Spitupnsuburbs), where she chronicles her love of exercising and drinking coffee, but never simultaneously.