Rebecca Twigg is a former Olympian for the United States. She won several awards, including two Olympic medals. Needless to say, at the peak of her career with several product endorsements and magazine covers. But where is this wonder woman today?
After winning two Olympic medals in cycling, six world championships, appearing on the cover of several magazines and endorsing numerous products, Rebbecca Twig suddenly dropped out of the sport that made her famous. Since then, she has had trouble finding a desk job and has been living on the street.
Who is Rebecca Twigg?
Rebecca Twig was born on March 26, 1963. She is an American former racing cyclist who won six world championships in the individual pursuit and 16 championships in the United States. She also won two Olympic medals, a silver medal in the 1984 road race in Los Angeles, California, and a bronze medal in Barcelona in 1992. She was a three-time Olympian, representing the United States in 1984, 1992, and 1996.
She first rode a bike at the age of 7, without any training wheels. She took off like she had done it all her life, and from then on, it was something she knew she loved to do.
I took to the road like I was born to do it. Except for the little part about stopping. I’m not a very good plannerRebecca Twigg
Twig was an academic prodigy. At 14, she enrolled at the University of Washington in Seattle and rode for the school’s team. Eddie Borysewicz, the coach of the US National Team, saw her and invited her to join the team three years later. She earned two degrees while in UW; biology and computer science. (Source: The Seattle Times)
What Happened During the 1996 Olympics?
The 1996 Summer Olympics was held in Atlanta, Georgia, from July 19 up until August 4. Little did anyone know that this would be the last time Twig would appear in the sporting scene. Twig ended her career in controversy when she suddenly quit the team after disagreeing with Chris Carmichael, the team coach, and the US Cycling Federation.
The federation invested in developing a SuperBike that they wanted Twigg to use in the Olympics. After using the bike earlier in the game, she refused to ride it. According to her, the bike did not fit well and would affect her performance in the race. She says that the pressure from the staff to use the SuperBike was daunting. In addition, the federation also refused to grant accreditation to her personal coach, Eddie Borysewicz. (Source: The Seattle Times)
Life After the Olympics
After the issue at the 1996 Olympics, Twigg retired from cycling completely. She joined the workforce but had difficulty holding down a desk job.
Once you’ve done something that feels like you’re born to do it, it’s hard to find anything that’s that good of a fit. Anything else that feels that way.Rebecca Twigg
She married fellow Olympian Mark Whitehead in 1985, but their marriage only lasted for a couple of years.
As of 2019, Twig has been homeless in Seattle for about five years. She started living with friends and family but then retreated to her car later on. She then moved on to homeless shelters and sometimes slept under garbage bags. She has not had a bike in years. Nobody even recognizes her.
At 56, Twig shared her story to inform the public that not all homeless people are drug addicts or alcoholics. There are several people like her who struggle with employment and are lost on what to do.
Some of the hard days are really painful when you’re training for racing, but being homeless, when you have little hope or knowledge of where the finish line is going to be, is just as hard.Rebecca Twigg
(Source: The Seattle Times)