BOISE -- For Kristin Armstrong, the Road to Rio gold isn't one she traveled alone.
“When Kristin wins, Idaho wins,” said Ed Castledine, Armstrong’s colleague at St. Luke’s Health System. “She is the Treasure Valley, we identify with her she's one of us. She really carries our community.”
Here in Idaho, Kristin's strength trainer, colleagues and friends say she invited them along for the ride. And thousands of miles away, they cheered as Kristin chased her place in Olympic history.
“Just her heart and determination,” said Kyle Sela, Armstrong’s strength trainer. “I knew almost at that point that she was going to get this thing she's not going to let it pass her.”
One man who was there for Kristin's final push for a medal is NBC's Olympic Cycling Reporter Steve Porino.
“The [Team USA] director was telling her in her ear ‘right now you have to decide what color you want,” said Porino. “And she just turned herself inside out in that last ten kilometers.”
He says everyone at the finish line in Rio stood by in awe of Kristin's tenacity and grit in those final seconds. No one more so than her teammate, Evelyn Stevens.
“She kind of says under her breath, "How does she do that?’” said Porino. “Completely befuddled by the fact that Armstrong is able to at that age win yet a third gold medal. I thought that was pretty telling.”
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An emotional, bloodied and utterly exhausted Armstrong collapsed at the finish. She then embraced her other greatest achievement.
“She later came by and told me that her son, Lucas, five-years-old said 'Mom, why you crying?' She said, ‘Because I'm happy. Don't worry I'll explain it to you later,’” said Porino.
Three Olympic Games. Three Gold Medals. It's the fairy tale ending that her friends say only Kristin Armstrong could write.
“I can't wait to tell her how proud of her I am,” said Castledine.
“It was ultimately that tenacity and that remarkable spirit that came through for her gold and that's what she deserved,” said Theresa McLeod, Armstrong’s colleague and friend.
“The amount of training and dedication it takes to do what she did is just incredible and she loves Boise and Boise loves her,” said Sela. “It's going to be cool when she comes back.”
Boise Mayor Dave Bieter said that the city will host a celebration for Armstrong upon her return from Rio. The details of that celebration are still being worked out.