USA Cycling & Olympic History
The Amateur Bicycle League of America was organized in 1920 and incorporated in New York in 1921. In 1975, the name was changed to the United States Cycling Federation. In 1995, USA Cycling, Inc. was incorporated in Colorado, and on July 1, 1995, the two corporations merged, with USA Cycling the umbrella corporation.
The office of USA Cycling, Inc. remained on the United States Olympic Training Center campus near downtown Colorado Springs until March of 2009. Thanks to the generous support of Nor’wood Development group and the El Pomar Foundation combined with the collective efforts of the City of Colorado Springs and several local organizations including the Colorado Springs Economic Development Corporation and the Colorado Springs Sports Corporation, the national governing body secured office space on the city’s north side. USA Cycling’s new headquarters now consists of a 26,000-square-foot building on nearly two acres of land near I-25 on the northwest side of Colorado Springs.
USA Cycling is the official cycling organization recognized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) and the International Cycling Union (UCI), and is responsible for identifying, training, and selecting cyclists to represent the United States in international competition. In addition to preparing elite-level athletes for world-class competition, USA Cycling aims to ensure the ongoing safety and development of the sport in America.
The United States has been a major player in the cycling movement since the invention of the bicycle — from the world’s first mountain bike races held in California to its present-day success on the the world and Olympic stage.
Cycling has been a part of the Olympic platform since the beginning of the modern Games in 1896, and the U.S. took its first medal when John Henry Lake finished third in the sprint at the 1900 Paris Games. Four years later, the U.S. team won every medal in all seven events at St. Louis. Eight years later, in Stockholm, the U.S. road cycling team won two bronze medals. That was the final podium appearance for Americans until the comeback performance of 1984.
Before World War II, the only sport in the U.S. more popular than cycling was baseball. Cyclists were once the highest paid athletes in the country, and thousands of fans flocked to the races. After a decline in the 1950s and 60s, the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles saw U.S. riders take nine medals, including the first-ever women’s medal awarded to Connie Carpenter (Phinney) for her first place road race finish. Interest in the sport once again took off as a popular American pastime and today is one of the nation’s fastest-growing amateur sports.
World-class American performances such as Greg Lemond’s three Tour de France victories continued to boost the sport in the U.S. throughout the last several decades. However, a struggle to regain the prominence the sport experienced before the emergence of popular pastimes such as basketball and football, and the invention of an American icon, the automobile, continues.
In the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, once again on home turf, the U.S. captured three medals. The 1996 Games served as the Olympic debut for American-invented mountain biking, and Susan DeMattei captured the bronze medal in the women’s cross-country event. On the track, Marty Nothstein won a silver medal in the men's match sprint, and Erin Hartwell took the silver in the kilometer time trial. The U.S. also posted eight top-ten finishes.
At the Sydney Games in 2000, four additional events were added to the Olympic program, increasing the number of cycling medals to 18. Mari Holden captured silver in the women’s time trial, while Marty Nothstein won the quadrennial’s only gold in the men’s sprint on the track.
The 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing saw the addition of an entirely new discipline of cycling: BMX. Bicycle Motocross (BMX) was added to the Games slate as a replacement for the time trial events on the track. The American contingent of four athletes did not disappoint in the sport the U.S. invented, taking home half of the six possible BMX medals. Mike Day earned the silver and Donny Robinson the bronze on the men’s side, with Jill Kintner taking home bronze in the women's BMX race.
The American women shined at the 2012 London Olympic Games. On the track, the women's team pursuit squad of Dotsie Bausch, Sarah Hammer, Jennie Reed and Lauren Tamayo earned silver, followed by another silver for Hammer in the omnium. Kristin Armstrong won her second gold medal in a row in the women's road time trial, and Georgia Gould capped the American medal haul with a bronze in the cross-country mountain bike race.
In early 2013, USA Cycling played an instrumental role in successfully holding the UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships in Louisville, Ky. The first-ever elite 'cross worlds held outside Europe, the event drew rave reviews from fans and participants, and saw Katie Compton bring home a silver medal for the Stars-and-Stripes.
This Article Published May 19, 2004 For more information contact: