Olympian Kelly Catlin, who helped the United States win the women’s pursuit team silver medal at the 2016 Rio Games, has died, USA Cycling said on March 10. The three-time world champion was 23.
“The U.S. cycling community suffered a devastating loss with the passing of Kelly Catlin,” USA Cycling President and Chief Executive Rob DeMartini said in a statement. “Kelly was more than an athlete to us, and she will always be part of the USA Cycling family.”
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the Catlin family. This is an incredibly difficult time and we want to respect their privacy,” the statement added. “The entire cycling community is mourning this immense loss.”
The U.S. cycling community suffered a devastating loss with the passing of Kelly Catlin, USA Cycling National Team member.
— USA Cycling (@usacycling) March 10, 2019
VeloNews reported that Catlin’s father, Mark, said in a letter to the publication that she died on Friday night at her home in California. Her father told the publication that she died by suicide.
“There isn’t a minute that goes by that we don’t think of her and think of the wonderful life she could have lived,” Mark Catlin wrote. “There isn’t a second in which we wouldn’t freely give our lives in exchange for hers. The hurt is unbelievable.”
Her brother, Colin, said on Facebook March 8 that his “sister Kelly committed suicide last night,” SFGate reported.
“She’s the one person I had shared almost my entire life with, and I shall miss her terribly,” he said.
My sister Kelly committed suicide last night. She's the one person I had shared almost my. entire life with, and I shall miss her terribly. I'll post updates as needed.
Catlin won gold medals with the U.S. women’s team pursuit team at the 2016, 2017 and 2018 world championships.
She was a graduate of the University of Minnesota.
She recently wrote a blog post in VeloNews about how she manages her time.
“This is probably the point when you’ll expect me to say something cliche like, ‘Time management is everything,’ ” she wrote. “Or perhaps you’re expecting a nice, encouraging slogan like, ‘Being a student only makes me a better athlete!’ After all, I somehow make everything work, right? Sure. Yeah, that’s somewhat accurate. But the truth is that most of the time, I don’t make everything work. It’s like juggling with knives, but I really am dropping a lot of them. It’s just that most of them hit the floor and not me.”
She also wrote that recovery is important as well.
“Now I am going to say something cliche: The greatest strength you will ever develop is the ability to recognize your own weaknesses, and to learn to ask for help when you need it. This is a lesson I have only just begun learning, slowly and painfully, these first few months as a graduate student. I still fail,” she wrote.
“As athletes, we are all socially programmed to be stoic with our pain, to bear our burdens and not complain, even when such stoicism reaches the point of stupidity and those burdens begin to damage us. These are hard habits to break.”
Other details about her death are not clear.
If you are in an emergency in the U.S. or Canada, please call 911. You can phone the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline on 1 800 273 8255. Youth can call the Kids Help Phone on 1800 668 6868.
In Australia, the suicide prevention telephone hotline at Lifeline is 13 11 14. You can also visit the Lifeline website at lifeline.org.au. Youth can contact the Kids Helpline by phoning 1800 551 800 or visiting headspace.org.au/yarn-safe
The Epoch Times reporter Jack Phillips and Reuters contributed to this report.