USA’s Kelly Catlin, three-time cycling world champion, dies aged 23

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One of America’s finest and most remarkable cyclists, Kelly Catlin, has died at the age of 23, USA Cycling confirmed on Sunday.

Catlin helped a dominant US team to three consecutive world titles in the pursuit between 2016 and 2018. She also won a silver medal in the team pursuit at the 2016 Olympics.

Catlin was a force in the individual pursuit too, winning bronze at the World Track Championships in 2017 and 2018. On the road, she competed for Rally UHC Cycling.

“We are deeply saddened by Kelly’s passing,” said the USA Cycling president and chief executive, Rob DeMartini.

“We will all miss her dearly. Kelly was more than an athlete to us and she will always be part of the USA Cycling family. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Catlin family. This is an incredibly difficult time and we want to respect their privacy.”

Catlin’s father, Mark, said his daughter had taken her own life.

“There isn’t a minute that goes by that we don’t think of her and think of the wonderful life she could have lived,” Mark Catlin told Velo News. “There isn’t a second in which we wouldn’t freely give our lives in exchange for hers. The hurt is unbelievable.”

Catlin was studying for a graduate degree in computational and mathematical engineering at Stanford, after competing an undergraduate degree in mathematics and Chinese. She was also a talented violinist and artist.

Last month on Velo News, Catlin wrote about balancing her athletic and academic career.

“Being a graduate student, track cyclist, and professional road cyclist can instead feel like I need to time-travel to get everything done. And things still slip through the cracks,” she wrote. “This is probably the point when you’ll expect me to say something cliché like, ‘Time management is everything.’ Or perhaps you’re expecting a nice, encouraging slogan like, ‘Being a student only makes me a better athlete!’ After all, I somehow make everything work, right? Sure. Yeah, that’s somewhat accurate.

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