Kelly Catlin, an Olympic track cyclist who competed in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games, was found dead in her California home on Friday. Her father told reporters she died by suicide. She was 23 years old.
Reuters announced Catlin’s death on Sunday. In addition to taking home the silver medal with the rest of the U.S. women’s pursuit team in Rio, Catlin helped that team win gold medals in the 2016, 2017 and 2018 world championships.
Catlin, a triplet who grew up in Minneapolis, Minnesota, was pursuing a graduate degree in mathematics at Stanford University; she reportedly died in her on-campus residence. “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 had reportedly struggled with mental health in the past.Her sister, Christine Catlin, told The Washington Post that Catlin was “a really special person - kind, funny, empathetic, and talented at literally everything she did. She just felt like she couldn’t say no to everything that was asked of her and this was her only escape.”
USA Cycling President and Chief Executive Rob DeMartini issued a statement calling it a “devastating loss” for the U.S. cycling community. “[T]he entire cycling community is mourning this immense loss,” he said, according to the Associated Press. “We are offering continuous support to Kelly’s teammates, coaches and staff. We also encourage all those who knew Kelly to support each other through the grieving.”