Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Armstrong makes golden visit to Ketchum

Olympic gold medalist shows the spoils

Express Staff Writer

Kristen Armstrong Courtesy photo by Paulette Phlipot

It's not every day that you see an Olympic gold medal.

But employees and visitors at Smith Sport Optics saw one last Friday afternoon when Boise's Kristin Armstrong made a last-minute appearance for a public "meet and greet" at the Ketchum business.

Armstrong was gracious, according to Smith Sport Optics public relations and communications director Greg Randolph. She signed autographs, met with local aerobic athletes and thrilled kids attending the "last-minute community event," Randolph said.

Of course she had her gold medal in tow and everybody had a chance to see it. Randolph added, "It was really fun, a rare opportunity. We hope to have her back again sometime this fall."

She has worn Smith sport glasses for "six or seven years," Randolph said. That's the length of time Armstrong has been a professional bike racer.

A former triathlete and University of Idaho graduate, Armstrong is a three-time national cycling champion who placed eighth in the 2004 Olympic road race at Athens.

Former Boise Family YMCA director of aquatics Armstrong, 35, won the 2008 Olympic women's road race time trial Aug. 13 in China and returned to Boise Aug. 16 to a triumphant "Victory Ride," with fellow bicyclists in downtown Boise. Six days later, she visited at Smith Sport Optics.

On Saturday, Armstrong and her husband Joe Savola, 43, finished the annual "Shop to the Top" Baldy ascent. To see how they did, check B-10.

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