Anna Kiesenhofer on Tokyo Olympics win: ‘So many individuals have emailed saying it conjures up 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 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 shocked by the response.

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

“It has been loopy,” Kisenhofer informed 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 sort of media consideration.

“In a way, I’m a interest 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 shouldn’t be a “interest bike owner” by way of lack of curiosity from prime groups, however it’s a private alternative 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 alone, however I need to attain out to some folks to assist me usually because I simply don’t have any expertise. You possibly can simply like make the improper offers in case you don’t actually know what your value truly for sponsors, for instance,” she stated.

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

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

The whirlwind of media interviews, sponsor gives, and touring dwelling from Tokyo has given Kiesenhofer little time to actually respect 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 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 in the intervening time, and I hope I discover the time to actually replicate for myself,” she informed VeloNews.

“It has a whole 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 laborious for it that no one seen. You’re employed a bit extra in case you’re going to the Olympics, however the essence of it wasn’t that totally different. I labored the identical manner for any small race in my hometown. No one sees it, and I simply go away with a smile and a bar of chocolate possibly.

“Right here, I do the identical work however simply two % 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 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 form of touches so many individuals like I get emails from folks like from professors in arithmetic, from feminists,” stated Kiesenhofer. “I don’t know nevertheless it simply conjures up so many individuals in order that’s form of what makes it particular.”

Taking probabilities

Whereas there was a whole lot of discuss 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 end result could be minimal.

The identical thought went by way of 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 needed to remain out so long as potential and provides herself the very best likelihood of securing a top-10.

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

“That was actually a intestine feeling through the race. I hadn’t actually deliberate that,” she stated of the assault. “I assumed, ultimately, the peloton would catch up, and I’d simply find yourself in a decreased group you already know, possibly do a prime 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 an enormous hole.

“On the finish of this lengthy climb, I spotted I used to be the strongest as a result of I went to the entrance simply because I felt like we had been driving very slowly. The others had been hurting and I wasn’t hurting, and it stunned me as a result of we had 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, “in case you’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 great time trialist, so I had absolute confidence that if the others should not working, I’m simply a lot sooner alone.”

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 through Getty Pictures

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 fearful like that all of the sudden there could be a flash of orange passing me. In fact, there was the board exhibiting me the occasions. So, it was okay, and it could have been clear that I used to be about to win however I didn’t totally belief the board,” she stated.

“I assumed possibly they forgot a rider or possibly they didn’t replace the occasions. That they’d the improper info. I didn’t need to take any dangers of shedding the race, as a result of I didn’t go laborious sufficient. I used to be by no means positive I’d win. Solely after I actually crossed the road, I spotted 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 just a few moments later she might be heard saying “I obtained it improper” as she realized the title wasn’t hers.

Social media was alight with folks criticizing van Vleuten for seemingly not congratulating Kiesenhofer however the Austrian stated 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.

“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 an enormous confusion,” stated Kiesenhofer. “I noticed feedback that she didn’t congratulate me and stuff like that.

“I don’t know if she truly stated 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 stated, ‘Oh, I didn’t notice you didn’t know that you just had been second and I discovered this nice the way you behaved, and I’d by no means have been capable of be so composed.’”