Georgia Gould wins bronze at Olympics

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By Brian Sweeney
Georgia Gould, who has considerable family ties to the local area, won a Bronze Medal in the Olympic mountain biking cross-country event Saturday in London. The medal marked the first time since 1996 that the United States has earned a medal in mountain biking competition.

Georgia, 32, grew up in Baltimore, MD. She is the daughter of Frank Gould of Ketchum, ID and Arkville and Susan Wilsey of Baltimore, MD. She is the granddaughter of Mary and Kingdon Gould Jr. of Arkville and has many other relatives in the Dry Brook valley.

Although she has won a number of titles during her mountain biking career, Georgia faced a considerable task in the competition for Olympic honors against the best riders in the world.
When the dust had settled, Georgia had completed six trips around the grueling three-mile course in 1 hour, 32 minutes. Sabine Spitz of Germany finished just six seconds ahead of Georgia, to win the Silver Medal. Julie Bresset of France won Gold with a time of 1:30:52.

Georgia started slowly in Saturday’s medal event, employing a strategy that she had devised with her coaching staff. After the initial lap, she was in ninth place, but she soon began passing riders and working herself into position to challenge for a medal. With two laps to go, Georgia had worked her way to the front of the pack and maintained a steady pace to earn the Bronze Medal.

A strong finish kept Georgia 33 seconds ahead of the fourth-place finisher Irina Kalentieva of Russia. There were 30 riders in the competition. Lea Davison was the only other rider from the U.S. in the competition, finishing in 11th place.

The mountain biking course was extremely difficult and included many obstacles designed to challenge riders’ technical skills. Segments of the course feature nicknames such as “Rabbit Hole,” “Rock Garden” and “Snake Hill” — so named to indicate particular challenges to riders.
Georgia got her first taste of mountain biking about 13 years ago her aptitude for the sport quickly became evident. In a relatively short time, she had begun entering races at the expert level and eventually earned status as one of the world’s top riders.

Georgia said in an e-mail to the News that a recent race in the Catskill Region helped her prepare for Olympic competition.

“I am thrilled to have gotten the chance to represent my country and bring home a medal. I am having my best season, to date. I had great momentum coming off a near-win at the World Cup in Windham, NY.

She added, “The Olympic race was a tough one and I am so happy I was able to put together a great ride that day. Not too much time to celebrate — I head home tomorrow for a little rest and some more training before coming back to Austria for the World Championships.”

Georgia and her husband, Dusty, are residents of Fort Collins, CO.