US Olympian Mike Friedman, one-half of the USA's Madison team with Bobby Lea, is excited about going to the Olympics... very excited. Normally racing on the road for the Garmin-Chipotle, he was part of Jonathan Vaughters' track plan since 2006 to get the USA an Olympic medal. Meatball, as he is affectionately known, is not settling for just the Olympic 'experience' – as he told Cyclingnews' North American Editor Mark Zalewski – he wants some hardware too!
Speaking to Mike Friedman while he sat at the gate at Denver International Airport, it was not difficult to hear the excitement in his voice. The rapid rate of speech alone was enough to think it was Christmas morning at the Friedman house. And in some ways, the presents came early. "We went through processing and we got a Home Depot shopping cart size amount of USA clothing from Ralph Lauren! It's awesome!" (Nice USOC sponsor plug, Mike.)
"It is a dream, it's the whole reason I started cycling again and took a leave of absence from college. And then the whole reason I went with Slipstream because JV wanted to start a track squad that went with the road stuff."
"It's really payback for all the sacrifices I made," he said. "I dropped out of [university] after being there for 3.5 years, near a degree, and it was a big gamble. You never know if you are going to make it, so that is another aspect. And just being away from home and normal things, like having a girlfriend [is impossible], because you are being so selfish to yourself by following a training routine. The lifestyle, living for that moment, and just training and training for it."
"They seem kinda small now, but if I did not make the team it would have been devastating! I would have been a wreck! I really don't know if I would have handled it right."
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