Kelly Catlin dies at age 23

Olympic silver medalist and three-time Team Pursuit world champion was a graduate student at Stanford

Three-time world champion and 2016 Olympic silver medalist Kelly Catlin died Thursday night of an apparent suicide, according to a report today on VeloNews. She was 23 years old.

“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 Catlin wrote in an email to VeloNews Sunday morning, confirming the circumstances of his daughter's death. “There isn’t a second in which we wouldn’t freely give our lives in exchange for hers. The hurt is unbelievable.”

Catlin's roommate reportedly discovered her body Thursday night in the dorm room they shared on the campus of Stanford University, where Catlin was enrolled as a graduate student.

Catlin won a silver medal in the Team Pursuit at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. She won gold with the US Team Pursuit squad at the world championships in 2016, 2017 and 2018, and she also took two world championships medals in the Individual Pursuit. Catlin collected numerous Pan American track titles with USA Cycling, and she also won gold in the individual time trial on the road at the 2015 Pan Am Games, the same year she took up track cycling after previously competing successfully in mountain bike racing.

In a statement sent to media on Sunday, USA Cycling said the US cycling community had suffered a devastating loss with Catlin's death.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the Catlin family," USA Cycling said. "Kelly was more than an athlete to us, she was and will always be part of the USA Cycling family. This is an incredibly difficult time for the Catlin family and we want to respect their privacy while they support each other.”

Catlin signed with the Rally Cycling road team in 2017 and planned to return with the team again this year, having taken part in the team's January training camp in Oxnard, California. She hadn't yet competed with Rally this season as she continued to focus on the track leading up to the world championships in February, although she withdrew from that competition and didn't make the trip to Poland after being on the initial USA Cycling roster.

Rally sent a statement to media Sunday morning. “The news of Kelly Catlin’s passing has hit the team hard," the statement read. "Losing an incredible person at such a young age is very difficult. Kelly was our friend and teammate. Our heartfelt condolences go out to her family and those who were fortunate enough to know her best.”

Catlin grew up in St. Paul, Minnesota, and attended high school in Arden Hills. A fraternal triplet along with sister Christine and brother Colin, she was born to Carolyn Emory and Mark Catlin in November 1995.

She graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2018 with degrees in Biomedical Engineering and Chinese, and she was attending Stanford University in pursuit of a graduate degree in Computational and Mathematical Engineering. On February 27, VeloNews published a journal by Catlin chronicling the challenges of balancing her education with training and riding for the national team at a world-class level.

In an email sent to the Stanford student community on Friday, Vice Provost for Student Affairs Susie Brubaker-Cole wrote that an unnamed graduate student had been found dead in her on-campus residence by her roommate, but there were no signs of foul play, according to a report on The Stanford Daily website. 

“It is wrenching to have to report this news to you, even more so following the deaths of other members of our community who have passed away recently,” Brubaker-Cole wrote to students, according to The Stanford Daily. “Our thoughts and hearts are with the family and friends of the student who passed away last night.”

Catlin's Brother, Colin, posted on his Facebook account Friday evening about his sister's death. "My sister Kelly committed suicide last night," he wrote. "She's the one person I had shared almost my entire life with, and I shall miss her terribly."

These free help lines can offer round the clock assistance for anyone experiencing suicidal thoughts. In the UK, contact Samaritans.org or call 116 123. In the US call 800-273-TALK (800-273-8255) or visit https://yourlifecounts.org/find-help to find your local hotline.

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