Questions and Answers: Amber Neben prepares for gold at the third Olympic Games

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IN 2012 Amber addition went to the Olympics in London and finished seventh in the individual time trial event. Now, almost 10 years later, Neben has been chosen to go back and compete under the rings; the goal, she says, is gold.

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

While Neben’s focus on training for Tokyo Games has been laser sharp, her attitude is light. Guided to a large extent by her faith, Neben sees the Olympics as an opportunity to demonstrate what she is capable of on the bike, as well as seize an opportunity that a higher power has given her. She is in a word ‘stoked’.

We reached Neben after Team USA’s Olympic selection was announced.

VeloNews: You were on a six-hour training trip on Thursday when the Olympic election was announced. What were some of the thoughts that went through you?

Amber next to: It was a fun day. I’m in the middle of a massive training camp, so that was another party. I had the chance to spend it with my trainer on the bike, my husband in the support car and the Lord in my heart. I’m excited! It was the first step in a huge goal. It is such an honor to represent the United States again. The Olympics are huge. I’m stoked, but at the same time I’m also very focused.

VN: When we spoke a month ago, you said that the goal was not just the Olympics, it was gold. Talk about it.

AN: I do not think I see it as pressure. It is this amazing challenge ahead of me. I want to set the bar as high as possible and go for it. I have one more chance.

VN: This should feel like an incredible stepping stone in your career. Or do you not start thinking like that until the games are over?

AN: I do not begin to think of the Olympics as a cornerstone until the games are over. Right now I am really enjoying moments. The process is so special. I do not reflect much, but I know this does not last forever. I do my best to just absorb it all. I learn and grow so much. God pours a lot into me and I hope I am able to give back and encourage others in every walk of life as a result of all this.

VN: Do your two previous games make you feel prepared, or does it feel like the first time? How does it benefit you to have been to the Olympics?

AN: Due to all the COVID limitations, I think Games this year will be a completely different experience. It will feel like the first time that way. I think having a world championship or Olympic experience matters. Knowing what it feels like to step into a massive event on the world stage is different from a normal race. After feeling this and clearing the steps, hoopla and expectations past are helpful. The COVID restrictions and tests will definitely be new to everyone.

VN: How have you spent the last, “extra” year preparing for this opportunity?

AN: I have been able to get into the wind tunnel a few times to fine tune some of the traction equation. I have been able to physically and mentally call into focus. I’m probably more relaxed too. But honestly, I think that extra year was more of a spiritual preparation period for me personally. I have been better placed to see how the pursuit of the gold medal has been a channel for him to work inside me. His strength has led me through my career and to this point. The extra year has certainly stretched me and made me more dependent on him than ever.

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