It may have lacked drama.
It lacked the element of surprise.
But that doesn’t diminish the accomplishment for Emma White, who was officially named a member of the U.S. cycling team that will compete in the Tokyo Olympics this summer.
The Duanesburg High and Union College graduate will compete in women’s team pursuit in track cycling, the category of the sport in which cyclist do multiple laps inside a velodrome and are scored based on combined individual times.
Team USA announced its Olympians this week, and White is one of five, along with Chloe Dygert, Jennifer Valente, Lily Williams and Megan Jastrab, listed for women’s team pursuit.
Despite the lack of a race schedule because of the pandemic, the 23-year-old White had reason to be convinced she would make the team based on her role in helping Team USA win the gold medal in dominating fashion at the UCI Track Cycling World Championships at the Velodrome in Berlin, Germany, on Feb. 27, 2020.
Still, this week’s announcement was a shining moment in her cycling career.
“I’m really proud, certainly, to have it out there,” she said on Friday afternoon by phone from the Olympic training center in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
“It’s something that I’ve known for a little while, but having it in writing officially is a really good feeling. Now I can officially call myself an Olympian. That’s always been my dream.”
By “always,” she means since she was recruited by Team USA to convert from cyclocross, which isn’t an Olympic sport, to track just over three years ago.
“And [qualifying in] road [racing] is just … it was never within reach, I guess I’ll say,” she said. “So when I started on the track and started training with the current World Champion team, it started to become a little bit of a realistic dream. Then every year it became a little more in touch.
“I still feel very new to the team, but the funny part is I’m no longer the newest rider to the team. In fact, Megan and Lily are newer than I am.”
Although White is not a road racer, she will compete in the U.S. Road Nationals in Knoxville, Tennessee, on June 20.
That will serve as an opportunity just to get into a competitive setting again, just to actually race again.
But White’s training will continue to be laser-focused on track cycling and Tokyo.
“I haven’t really changed anything in training [for the road nationals],” she said. “I am doing longer rides, but that’s just building a base for track training.”
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