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

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Anna Kisenhofer’s toes have hardly touched the bottom since her shock highway 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 for the reason that 1896 Video games.

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

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

“It has been loopy,” Kisenhofer instructed 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 interest bicycle 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 in addition getting contacted by so many sponsors, and persons are providing stuff.”

Kiesenhofer will not be a “interest bicycle owner” by lack of curiosity from prime groups, however it’s a private alternative for her. She spent a 12 months racing as knowledgeable 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 making an attempt 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 possibly can 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 gained’t overshadow Hollywood ending for Anna Kiesenhofer

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

The whirlwind of media interviews, sponsor provides, 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 fruits of numerous work and different victories alongside the best way.

“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 in the mean time, and I hope I discover the time to essentially mirror for myself,” she instructed 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 in addition all the opposite small races that I labored actually onerous for it that no one seen. You’re employed a bit extra for those who’re going to the Olympics, however the essence of it wasn’t that totally different. I labored the identical method for any small race in my hometown. No one 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 am 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 motorbike.

Whereas many people might 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 sort of touches so many individuals like I get emails from individuals like from professors in arithmetic, from feminists,” mentioned Kiesenhofer. “I don’t know however it simply evokes so many individuals in order that’s sort of what makes it particular.”

Taking possibilities

Whereas there was quite a lot of speak round race radios and the shortage 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 consequence 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 doable and provides herself the very best likelihood of securing a top-10.

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

“That was actually a intestine feeling through the race. I hadn’t actually deliberate that,” she mentioned of the assault. “I assumed, ultimately, the peloton would catch up, and I might simply find yourself in a decreased group you already know, perhaps do a prime 10 if it’s a small group. So, all the pieces that occurred wasn’t actually my plan. I wouldn’t have thought that we’d 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 driving very slowly. The others have been hurting and I wasn’t hurting, and it shocked 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 assumed, “for those who’re driving 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 very good time trialist, so I had absolute confidence that if the others should not working, I’m simply a lot sooner 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 could imply for her Photograph: Greg Baker/AFP by way of Getty Photographs

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

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

“I assumed perhaps they forgot a rider or perhaps they didn’t replace the instances. That that they had the mistaken data. I didn’t need to take any dangers of dropping the race, as a result of I didn’t go onerous sufficient. I used to be by no means certain I might win. Solely once I actually crossed the road, I noticed I had gained.”

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 might hardly have been nicer. Kiesenhofer wasn’t even conscious till the next day that there had been any confusion over the race win.

“After 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 fee, the day after, she contacted me once more, immediately, and we had a chat and I mentioned, ‘Oh, I didn’t notice 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 capable of be so composed.’”