Kelly Catlin, three-time cycling world champion, committed suicide at 23

Kelly Catlin. (Photo: Twitter/@kelly_catlin
Kelly Catlin. (Photo: Twitter/@kelly_catlin) IANS

American cyclist Kelly Catlin who was an Olympic silver medallist and world champion passed away at the age of 23 on the night of March 8. Catlin is said to have committed suicide as confirmed by her family and her father described her daughter's passing as "unbelievable hurt" while her sister said, "I want the world to know there was a human being underneath that hard shell."

"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," her father, Mark Catlin told VeloNews. "There isn't a second in which we wouldn't freely give our lives in exchange for hers. The hurt is unbelievable." Catlin passed away in her on-campus residence at Stanford University.

"We are deeply saddened by Kelly's passing," said USA Cycling president and chief executive Rob DeMartini. "We will all miss her dearly. 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 entire cycling community is mourning this immense loss. We are offering continuous support to Kelly's team-mates, coaches and staff. We also encourage all those who knew Kelly to support each other through the grieving."

Who was Kelly Catlin – a brief timeline

  • Kelly Catlin was born on November 3, 1995, in Saint Paul, Minnesota which is a midwestern state in the United States of America.
  • Catlin won a silver medal at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic games in the women's cycling team pursuit.
  • Catlin won three straight team pursuit world titles on the cycling track from 2016 to 2018.
  • She won all three of her world titles alongside Chloe Dygert Owen and Jennifer Valente. In 2016, Sarah Hammer was a part of the victorious team while Kimberley Geist was part of the 2017 and 2018 triumphs.
  • Catlin also won individual pursuit bronze at both the 2017 and 2018 World Track Championships.
  • Catlin was a graduate of the University of Minnesota with degrees in Biomedical Engineering and Chinese.
  • Catlin was studying computational and mathematical engineering at Stanford University in California when she decided to take the extreme step.

In a VeloNews blog post on how she managed three intense pursuits, Kelly Catlin had written that she sometimes felt as if she needed "to time-travel to get everything done. And things still slip through the cracks."

"This is probably the point when you'll expect me to say something cliche like, 'Time management is everything.' 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."

Rally UHC Cycling issued a statement on social media saying, "The news of Kelly's passing has hit the team hard. Losing an incredible person at such a young age is very difficult. Kelly was our friend and team-mate. Our heartfelt condolences go out to her family and those who were fortunate enough to know her best."