Connie Carpenter – 1982
At 14, Connie got her first taste of Olympic competition as a speed skater on the U.S. team for the 1972 Winter Games in Sapporo, Japan. She then switched gears and concentrated thereafter on competitive cycling, except for a brief stint on UC Berkeley’s rowing team before the 1980 Summer Olympics.
By 1977, the determined redhead had converted hard work into almost every major title in women’s cycling, including the U.S. National Road Racing championship.
She was the dominant woman in her sport in 1982. Claiming a third straight Coors Classic title, third consecutive World silver medal, top honors in the seven-race Self Series and a second silver medal in the U. S. National Time Trials, the perennial national medallist received the Southland Olympic Award as Best Female Cyclist in America. In 1982, she also moved permanently to Boulder.
Typical of the 11-time National champion’s style was her decision to withdraw from the final two days of the 1984 Red Zinger/Coors Classic to rest and mentally prepare for the week away Olympiad. Having won four of the seven stages to that point, she was on target for a fourth Coors crown.
The decision was validated in Los Angeles when her 12-year gap in Olympic appearances was bridged with the ultimate road racing gold in the Summer Games debut of women’s cycling. Her victory ended a 72-year drought for U.S. cycling teams who last won an Olympic medal in 1912.
Connie and her Olympic cyclist husband, Davis, have two children. In their free time, they run cycling camps. She also writes children’s books and serves on the Sportswomen of Colorado Advisory Board.