The 2016 Rio Olympics road race was the final elite international competition for Mara Abbott, she wrote in a first-person article for The Wall Street Journal.
Abbott had a solo breakaway in the Rio race and led with about 100m to go. She was then caught by three chasing riders and finished fourth (VIDEO).
Afterwards, Abbott answered questions from NBC with a confident smile on her face.
“I rode that race to the absolute best of my ability,” she said at the time. “I didn’t leave anything out there.”
Abbott, a climbing specialist, described herself as “course dependent.” Unlike the Rio course, she does not believe the 2020 Tokyo Olympic course would be suited to her strengths.
“Tokyo is slated to be one for the sprinters—effectively not the same sport for me, really,” Abbott wrote.
Abbott wrote on Twitter late last night that she is still working on what her future will look like.
She is a two-time winner of the Giro Rosa.
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.
Team USA’s Mara Abbott came within moments of the first American gold since 1984 with a tremendous effort in the women’s road race on Sunday before dropping off the podium altogether with less than 150m to go.
A 39-second lead with 10km to go slowly drained and then evaporated completely in the final 30 seconds of the race, with the Netherlands’ Anna van der Breggen pulling ahead of a pack of three to win gold.
Abbott finished fourth, while Sweden’s Emma Johansson took silver. Bronze went to Italy’s Elisa Longo Borghini.
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Dutch cyclist Annemiek van Vleuten and Abbott met the last 17 kilometers of the women’s road race together.
Van Vleuten pulled away on the descent, but flipped her bike off the road to allow Abbott to make up ground and march her way to gold with 10 km to go. A group of three riders would try to chase down Abbott’s 39 second lead.
The grueling affair that is the women’s road race in Rio was well worth the wait.
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Two Team USA cyclists stayed in the mix well into the race, with Abbott and Evelyn Stevens among a pack of seven riders who broke away with 25 kilometers to go.
The climb to get there sapped Stevens, who fell away from the pack five minutes later. That left Abbott in a five-woman battle. She’d later charge to the front with Van Vleuten.