by Andrew Crisp
Two-time Olympic gold medalist Kristin Armstrong, fresh from her win in London, greeted hundreds at Boise's Capitol Park Saturday. The City of Boise officially hosted a celebration to commemorate the athlete's achievements and celebrate her 39th birthday.
Festivities kicked off at the Boise Depot around 3 p.m., when hundreds of cyclists young and old assembled to join Armstrong in a ride down the empty city streets. The city blocked off the entirety of Capitol Boulevard for the trip.
Armstrong showed up in her red, white and blue Team USA racing jersey and shorts, missing only the aerodynamic helmet and expensive bike. Instead, she towed her son behind her from the depot to the Capitol in an attached bike trailer, her husband trailing not far behind.
"My husband and I got married here [at the depot] five years ago," Armstrong told reporters. "This is the biggest birthday celebration I've ever had."
When the two-wheeled throngs made it to Capitol Park, Armstrong jumped on stage alongside Boise Mayor Dave Bieter, Treasure Valley YMCA director Jim Everett, Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter and first lady Lori Otter. The governor then read an official declaration designating Saturday, Aug. 11, as Kristin Armstrong Day, before Armstrong was awarded the key to her alma mater by University of Idaho President Duane Nellis.
"If only I'd had this when I was in college," she said, eliciting a laugh from the crowd.
Mayor Bieter then said the city struggled with how to commemorate Armstrong's achievement because she had already received the key to the city. Instead, he held out the Kristin Armstrong Bikeway sign posted on Bogus Basin Road after her first medal, now updated to reflect the rest of her achievements.
"And there's room for more if we need it," Bieter said.
The city also renamed its recreational scholarship program for kids the Kristin Armstrong Youth Scholarship. After a few teary-eyed words from the cyclist, cake and chocolate milk were served and the crowd sang happy birthday.