Talk about a positive spin.
All that separated American cyclist Mara Abbott from winning the gold in the Olympic women’s road race on Sunday was 150 meters. But when she was mere seconds away from the finish line, three women sped by her — leaving her in fourth place.
“The ironic part is . . . you’re in that situation, and you don’t actually believe you can win,” Abbott told a reporter on NBC’s broadcast. “I didn’t believe it until I passed 200 meters to go, then I thought, ‘Oh my God’, this is going to happen — and then they passed me. So, I guess that’s what they say about counting your chickens before they hatch.”
“I rode that race to the absolute best of my ability, and I didn’t leave anything out there.”
Anna van der Breggen of the Netherlands took home the gold, Sweden’s Emma Johansson took silver and Italy’s Elisa Longo Borghini finished with the bronze.
This wasn’t Abbott’s first time losing to van der Breggen, either. In 2015, Abbott came in second to the Dutch cyclist during the prestigious Italian race, Giro Rosa, VeloNews reported. Though Abbott has won the Giro Rosa in 2010 and 2013, according to Cycling News.
If Abbott, had won Sunday’s race in Rio, she would have been the first American woman to do so since Connie Carpenter-Phinney won the gold in 1984, according to the Olympics’ site.
But Abbott, 30, had a winning attitude about her loss.
“I rode that race to the absolute best of my ability, and I didn’t leave anything out there,” she told NBC.
Keeping a smile on her face, Abbott also emphasized the importance of teamwork during her interview with the outlet, which took place shortly after the gold medal slipped through her fingers.
“My inclination as an athlete is always going to be to say, ‘Well, I didn’t win. So that’s not good enough.’ But cycling is a team sport, so when I look at what everyone did … I’m really honored to be a part of this.”
“My inclination as an athlete is always going to be to say, ‘Well, I didn’t win. So that’s not good enough,’” she said. “But cycling is a team sport, so when I look at what everyone did … I’m really honored to be a part of this.”