Mara Abbott had been showing her battle long before her run toward Olympic gold dropped into a medal-free finish in the women’s road race on Sunday.
Battling anorexia and working part-time jobs to allow her to compete, Abbott came within 150 meters of a gold medal before a trio of racers caught her just before the finish line.
When you consider than she ran out of gas at the finish and has a day-to-day fight with eating, it’s extra powerful. The 30-year-old Boulder native shared her story in a piece published by The Guardian:
The eating disorder was more about control than weight, she said. “It was never about weight for me. When people tell me: ‘Oh you’re so thin, you’re so amazing, you look so fit,’ I get so upset about it. For me, the eating disorder was my way out. It was my way of saying: ‘I’m not in control. This is how I can take control because if nothing else I can control everything that I eat. If I don’t feel good about myself in the world, I can at least perfect what I’m eating and make myself feel that I’m winning with food.’
After the loss, social media made sure to both directly and indirectly laud her race, which was grueling, thrilling, and ultimately draining.
But so worthwhile.