Home OLYMPICS Olympics 2021: Amber Neben sees Olympic gold at the age of 46...

Olympics 2021: Amber Neben sees Olympic gold at the age of 46 years


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Amber next door Olympic history is not that as a 46-year-old, she is a decade or two older than the other women vying for a spot on the U.S. Road Team. That is, as a 46-year-old, she wants to win a gold medal.

“I would not have committed for so long if I did not think I could,” Neben said VeloNews. “It would be the most special because of everything I have overcome to this point. The challenge of getting here, the wait, the feeling that I might be breaking through. That would be really special. ”

Neben placed sixth in the world time trial in 2020. 2021 could mark her last appearance on any world stage.

The 2021 Games, if elected, would be Neben’s third time running for Team USA. She participated in the 2008 and 2012 games; in 2004 she was appointed deputy. Her best result was seventh in the time trial in 2012.

During his 20-year career as a professional cyclist, Neben has won several national titles and two world championships in the individual time trial. She has victories in stage races, one-day road races and of course time trials, where she is among the most decorated athletes in the history of the sport.

When talking to her, however, it is easy to get the feeling that the most important result is one that has been avoided by her all along.

You see, Neben is one of those people who has dreamed of winning Olympic gold since childhood, the type who would pursue any sport to get there.

“It would have been after the Olympics in ’84 – at that time, football was my thing,” she said. “I can remember daydreams on the couch instead of doing my homework and imagining that I scored the winning goal in football. Football was not even an Olympic sport yet for women! Then it was distance driving. So I got really good at long distance driving. Then followed cycling. And so it was like, this is real. ”

Neben has been around long enough and has waded through the dark waters of the U.S. Olympic selection process four times now, so she knows that going to the Games is rarely a guarantee. Add last year’s COVID delay, lack of race results, and yes, her birth date from the mid-seventies and 2021 looks like even more of a long shot.

Yet Neben does not feel seen for any assumptions about how things ‘should’ be.

“It is this idea that it can take a really, really long time to achieve something, achieve a goal, achieve something you have dreamed of,” she said. “I think many times people give up when it gets difficult or takes a long time. It is the one who endures the longest who succeeds. I have another shot. ”


Neben said the past year – from the cancellation of the 2020 games until now – has actually been more challenging physically than emotionally. Carrying a high training load for several months in a row to be ready for any race opportunity has been the name of the game for most professional cyclists in the past year. It’s tiring. However, Neben’s mental training load has been lighter.

“It was a long year of being ready, but in the end I think it has worked well this year,” she said. “When I was far-sighted with my visions of what I was training to accomplish, I was okay with it.”

Neben’s assurance that she could win Olympic gold at the age of 46 shows something that most people find quite unpleasant – vulnerability.

Nevertheless, she finds wisdom in what others may see as a weakness.

“I’m pretty open about who I am and what I’m about,” Neben said. “To be honest, there are more people who can relate to what can be related to dominating or always winning. Life is hard. Trying to achieve something is not easy. There are setbacks and you may not get there. So the hunt really becomes the channel to everything else. ”


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