Kelly Catlin, U.S. Olympic Cyclist, Dead of Suicide

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Tragic news today out of the world of sports and the Olympics.

U.S. Olympic track cyclist Kelly Catlin was found dead in her Stanford University campus residence last Friday night.

She was 23 years old.

Kelly Catlin

According to the Santa Clara Medical Examiner, her cause of death was asphyxia and the manner was suicide.

Kelly's father, Mark Catlin, also confirmed her passing in a letter sent to VeloNews over the weekend, including the tragic tidbit that the athlete took her own life.

"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," Mark wrote in the letter, adding:

"There isn't a second in which we wouldn't freely give our lives in exchange for hers. The hurt is unbelievable."

The Minnesota native was pursuing a graduate degree in computational mathematics at the time of her passing.

Among her other accolades, Catlin helped lead the U.S. women’s pursuit team to win the silver medal at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.


“Stanford is deeply saddened to confirm the death of Kelly Catlin,” a statement on the university’s website reads.

It continues:

“A first-year master’s student in computational and mathematical engineering. The university has been in touch with Kelly’s family to extend our heartfelt condolences. Stanford mourns Kelly’s loss, and our deepest sympathies are with her family, friends and loved ones.”

Other statements/tributes have also been released in the wake of this tragedy.

"The U.S. cycling community suffered a devastating loss with the passing of Kelly Catlin, USA Cycling National Team member," Rob DeMartini, USA Cycling president and CEO, wrote in a statement.

"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."

kc snapshot

In addition, DeMartini stated that "the entire cycling community is mourning this immense loss" and that USA Cycling is "offering continuous support to Kelly's teammates, coaches and staff."

He added that the organization encourages "all those who knew Kelly to support each other through the grieving."

Concluded DeMartini:

"We are deeply saddened by Kelly's passing, and we will all miss her dearly. We hope everyone seeks the support they need through the hard days ahead, and please keep the Catlin family in your thoughts."

kelly bikes

Catlin helped the U.S. national team win three consecutive world titles between 2016 and 2018. 

She also won the bronze model at the World Track Championships in 2017 and 2018. 

In an interview with The Washington Post, Catlin's siblings, Colin Catlin and Christine Catlin, said their sister broke her arm and sustained a concussion in separate crashes last year.

"She couldn't train as well as she used to," Christine told the publication.

"She had really bad headaches and was sensitive to light. Then she tried to commit suicide in January the same way. She had written this lengthy email [to her family] and said her thoughts were racing all the time.

"She was suicidal, her thinking was really dark, and she had had taken to nihilism. We called police the moment we got the email and they got there in time to save her that time."

May Kelly Catlin rest in peace.

If you or someone you know needs help, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

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