BOISE -- Friends and supporters of gold medalist Kristin Armstrong are offering a hefty reward for information leading to the recovery of the Olympian's two stolen bicycles.
Members of the public cycling community are now trying to raise $10,000 in an attempt to match the $10,000 reward already being offered by Armstrong's team sponsor. The cash would be added to another $10,000 reward offered by Armstrong herself.
That means someone -- somewhere -- stands to make as much as $30,000 by turning-in the suspected thief, or thieves.
BIKES LIKELY STOLEN
When Armstrong left the London 2012 Olympics, she returned to Boise with her second Olympic gold medal. She did not return with her custom time trial and road race bicycles.
Instead, Armstrong temporarily donated her bikes to a German cycling festival where they went on display. She says the bikes were supposed to be shipped back to her home in September, but they never made it.
Law enforcement officials, including members of the Dept. of Homeland Security, continue to investigate the alleged theft.
Armstrong is especially hurt by the disappearance of her $30,000 Felt TT time trial bike. She says it was the bicycle she won her gold medal on.
"My TT bike is a symbol of all the hard work that has been put into this journey," Armstrong said. "It is sad to think that somebody out there has taken this away from me and my family out there has taken this away from me and my family."
Armstrong and husband Joe Savola plan to offer a $10,000 reward for information leading to the return of the gold medal bicycle.
Armstrong's gold medal Felt TT bicycle
SPONSOR, FRIENDS OFFER REWARD
The sponsor of Armstrong's professional racing team also offered a substantial reward to whomever helps find the Felt TT. Exergy Twenty12 team manager Nicola Cranmer says Boise-based Exergy Development Group pledged $10,000 to whomever helped "flush" the crook responsible.
Cranmer said both Armstrong and Savola are "deeply" attached to Kristin's bikes.
"Joe spends hours and hours on her bikes through the year," Cranmer said. "It's a sentimental issue for both of them."
In recent weeks, other supporters have pledged to match the cash rewards offered by Armstrong and Exergy Development.
Brandon Shuler is one of Armstrong's former triathlon coaches. Shuler created a fundraising website with the goal of raising another $10,000 to match the reward offered by Exergy.
Shuler's site is called Kristin Armstrong Gold TT Bike Reward Fund, and includes secured forms for credit card donation and options for donors to remain anonymous.
Shuler posted the following comment on the site Sept. 24th:
"As one of KA's former triathlon coaches, a friend, and a devoted fan of KA the cyclist, I'd like to see the cycling community match her team's generous $10,000 reward. No one is more deserving of the title of Olympic Gold Medalist or Mom than KA. She deserves our help to return these bikes to whom they rightfully belong, her and her family."
According to Shuler, all proceeds raised by the Kristin Armstrong Gold TT Bike Reward Fund "will go directly to Kristin to pay to the individual leading to the discovery of her bikes."
Shuler says if the bikes are not returned, and the reward not paid "within one year of October 1, 2012, on October 2, 2013, the funds will be donated to a scholarship in Kristin's name."
Both Armstrong and Exergy have made similar promises to donate the reward money to charity if the reward isn't paid.