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Anna Kiesenhofer on Tokyo Olympics win: ‘So many individuals have emailed saying it evokes them’

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Anna Kisenhofer’s ft have hardly touched the bottom since her shock street race victory on the Olympic Video games.

The Austrian went from comparative unknown to worldwide fame within the blink of a watch to take the gold medal in Tokyo final month, the primary biking gold for Austria because the 1896 Video games.

A mathematician and college lecturer, Kiesenhofer devoted her spare time to coaching and racing. The story of an beginner rider getting the higher of the professionals has captured the world’s curiosity and the 30-year-old has been stunned by the response.

Additionally learn: Anna Kiesenhofer: The mathematician who carved an unconventional path to Tokyo Olympic success

“It has been loopy,” Kisenhofer advised VeloNews in a video name Thursday morning. “Because it was a shock victory for a lot of or for everyone, it was simply very overwhelming. I’m not used to this type of media consideration.

“In a way, I’m a passion bike owner as a result of I’ve a full-time day job. So, I’m actually not used to spending a lot time with interviews and likewise getting contacted by so many sponsors, and individuals are providing stuff.”

Kiesenhofer is just not a “passion bike owner” by lack of curiosity from high groups, however it’s a private selection for her. She spent a yr racing as an expert in 2017 however stepped away to carve her personal path within the sport.

Since her Olympic victory, the curiosity has been heightened, however Kiesenhofer isn’t leaping to any main selections with out some thought.

“I’m primarily attempting to handle it by myself, however I need to attain out to some individuals to assist me often because I simply don’t have any expertise. You may simply like make the mistaken offers for those who don’t actually know what your value truly for sponsors, for instance,” she mentioned.

Additionally learn: Communication breakdown received’t overshadow Hollywood ending for Anna Kiesenhofer

One factor Kiesenhofer is certain about is that she received’t be signing a full-time racing contract. She desires to maintain racing, however on her personal phrases.

The whirlwind of media interviews, sponsor presents, and touring dwelling from Tokyo has given Kiesenhofer little time to essentially recognize what she has achieved. Nevertheless, the gold medal is extra to her than simply that dramatic race in Japan, it’s the end result of a lot of work and different victories alongside the way in which.

“I didn’t even have the time to be too emotional. I used to be so busy simply telling my story throughout interviews that I didn’t actually have time for myself to consider the medal and what’s behind it. It’s simply mendacity round for the time being, and I hope I discover the time to essentially mirror for myself,” she advised VeloNews.

“It has quite a lot of symbolic worth for me as a result of it stands for all of the work I put into this race and likewise all the opposite small races that I labored actually arduous for it that no one observed. You’re employed a bit extra for those who’re going to the Olympics, however the essence of it wasn’t that completely different. I labored the identical method for any small race in my hometown. No person sees it, and I simply go away with a smile and a bar of chocolate perhaps.

“Right here, I do the identical work however simply two p.c extra and I’m going away with a gold medal and the eye of the entire world.”

Since racing away with gold, Kiesenhofer has had many individuals reaching out to say she has impressed them to get on a motorcycle.

Whereas many people may solely think about reaching the extent wanted to win Olympic gold, there’s something tangible in seeing an individual with a day job dedicating their time to a ardour.

“It’s loopy as a result of it type of touches so many individuals like I get emails from individuals like from professors in arithmetic, from feminists,” mentioned Kiesenhofer. “I don’t know but it surely simply evokes so many individuals in order that’s type of what makes it particular.”

Taking possibilities

Whereas there was quite a lot of discuss round race radios and the dearth of them for the Olympic Video games, Kiesenhofer’s win was about her taking an opportunity. She knew that if she stayed within the peloton all through the race that her alternative to take an honest outcome could be minimal.

The identical thought went by her thoughts as she attacked the final two of her 4 breakaway companions on the ultimate climb of the day. Many questioned the reasoning behind her transfer, however Kiesenhofer wasn’t going for gold at that second. She simply wished to remain out so long as attainable and provides herself one of the best likelihood of securing a top-10.

Additionally learn: Anna Kiesenhofer surprises the Dutch with big breakaway win

“That was actually a intestine feeling in the course of the race. I hadn’t actually deliberate that,” she mentioned of the assault. “I believed, finally, the peloton would catch up, and I might simply find yourself in a lowered group you recognize, perhaps do a high 10 if it’s a small group. So, every little thing that occurred wasn’t actually my plan. I wouldn’t have thought that we might get such a giant hole.

“On the finish of this lengthy climb, I noticed I used to be the strongest as a result of I went to the entrance simply because I felt like we have been using very slowly. The others have been hurting and I wasn’t hurting, and it stunned me as a result of we have been actually not going quick. They began to be a bit reluctant to do activates the entrance on the flat half alongside the lake. And I believed, “for those who’re using like that the peloton will catch us”. So, then there was one small climb left and I needed to assault.

“I knew I’m a superb time trialist, so I had absolute confidence that if the others are usually not working, I’m simply a lot quicker by myself.”

Anna Kiesenhofer went solo over the final climb at the Tokyo Olympics not realizing what it would mean for her
Anna Kiesenhofer went solo over the ultimate climb on the Tokyo Olympics not realizing what it might imply for her Picture: Greg Baker/AFP through Getty Photos

Kiesenhofer was nonetheless racing for something she may get at this level, and with the restricted info obtainable to herself and the opposite riders, she didn’t dare to imagine till she crossed the road that she’d truly received gold.

“Even 100 meters earlier than the road, I used to be nonetheless anxious like that abruptly there could be a flash of orange passing me. After all, there was the board displaying me the instances. So, it was okay, and it might have been clear that I used to be about to win however I didn’t totally belief the board,” she mentioned.

“I believed perhaps they forgot a rider or perhaps they didn’t replace the instances. That they’d the mistaken info. I didn’t need to take any dangers of shedding the race, as a result of I didn’t go arduous sufficient. I used to be by no means positive I might win. Solely after I actually crossed the road, I noticed I had received.”

Simply over a minute after Kiesenhofer crossed the road, Annemiek van Vleuten celebrated as she thought she had claimed the gold. It was only some moments later she may very well be heard saying “I acquired it mistaken” as she realized the title wasn’t hers.

Social media was alight with individuals criticizing van Vleuten for seemingly not congratulating Kiesenhofer however the Austrian mentioned she may hardly have been nicer. Kiesenhofer wasn’t even conscious till the next day that there had been any confusion over the race win.

“Once we went to the rostrum, I didn’t even know concerning the confusion that Annemiek had concerning her second. She was so composed and so good that there was nothing like indicating that there was such a giant confusion,” mentioned Kiesenhofer. “I noticed feedback that she didn’t congratulate me and stuff like that.

“I don’t know if she truly mentioned congratulations, however she was simply tremendous good. Not directly, she congratulated me. At any price, the day after, she contacted me once more, immediately, and we had a chat and I mentioned, ‘Oh, I didn’t understand you didn’t know that you simply have been second and I discovered this nice the way you behaved, and I might by no means have been in a position to be so composed.’”

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