Excellence is one of the core values at The College of Idaho. More specifically, the College strives to help students discover what excellence means and how to achieve it.
To help cover the topic, the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee invited Idaho-born Olympian Kristin Armstrong to speak to students Tuesday night inside Jewett Auditorium.
Not many athletes better symbolize excellence than the three-time Olympic gold medalist in cycling.
Armstrong spoke to the crowd about perseverance, keeping a positive attitude, and the importance of having a team around you. Excellence for Armstrong is nothing more than a mindset, and from that mindset, that the journey begins.
“Inspiration is all around us, and if you recognize it, it’s going to take you far,” Armstrong said. “You are going to find what you love doing.”
Armstrong loves cycling. The Boise native has competed in four Olympics and her three gold medals make her the most decorated female cyclist in U.S. history.
However, she could not have achieved everything all on her own. Armstrong brought in people who inspired her, challenged her, and had more knowledge than her. “I ended up on top because of a team,” Armstrong said. “I believe truly that if a person feels trusted by those around them, it’s likely that they will feel empowered.”
The message of teamwork resonated with many students in the audience. One of those was senior Biology major Collin Tracy, Vice President of the Student-Athlete Advisor Committee (SAAC). “The College of Idaho does a really good job of giving you a big team to help you through,” Tracy said. He credits getting through four years of college and cross country and track with the support he received from his teammates and his coaches.
Armstrong discussed many themes that are relatable to students, including balance and passion. “You have to look at the passion as your bookends and never forget to enjoy the journey; the journey is what counts,” she said.
Her team, her passion, and her vision helped Armstrong win her first gold medal in the time trial in 2008. She went on to win gold again in 2012 and 2016. Family and her son brought her balance, and her team continued to believe in her. “I let passion drive me versus getting stuck in the process,” Armstrong said.
It was passion that senior Tamika Russell, President of SAAC, took away from the speech. “Nobody can tell you what you can and can’t do,” Russell said. To be committed to what you are doing “you should be passionate about what you’re doing.”
Armstrong’s message to the students — find what motivates you and do it. “You do it because you can, and no matter the challenges and successes, you absolutely love waking up every single morning and you bring your best to whatever it is you are going after.”
The College of Idaho has a 128-year-old legacy of excellence. The C of I is known for its outstanding academic programs, winning athletics tradition and history of producing successful graduates, including seven Rhodes Scholars, three governors, and countless business leaders and innovators. Its distinctive PEAK Curriculum challenges students to attain competency in the four knowledge peaks of humanities, natural sciences, social sciences and a professional field—empowering them to earn a major and three minors in four years. The College’s close-knit, residential campus is located in Caldwell, where its proximity both to Boise and to the world-class outdoor activities of southwest Idaho’s mountains and rivers offers unique opportunities for learning beyond the classroom. For more information, visit www.collegeofidaho.edu.