Standing still for six hours is not a good way to prepare for a bicycle race. That's why it was with trepidation that
U.S. cycling coaches allowed their athletes to walk in the 2000 Summer Olympics Parade of Nations.
And for mountain biker Ruthie Matthes, it was worth every minute.
I'll never forget walking down that tunnel and then bursting into that stadium," said Matthes, who came in 10th in
the cross country race in Sydney. Mountain bike races don't have spectators like that."
Before the flashes and cameras, Matthes moved from Boulder to Durango in 1993. She was barely edged out for a spot on
the 1996 Olympic team and faced 48 long months before her next shot at the team.
So she said she treated the cut like a hindrance, not fate, she said.
I think that right after missing the Olympics, I came back with more focus and, obviously, I had four more years'
She had an incredible year after missing the cut, and the rest weren't bad, either.
Matthes won four national championships and four World Cup events each and took Iron Horse Bicycle Classic crowns in
1990 and 1996.
She retired from competitive racing in 2001 and coached the Fort Lewis College cycling team.
She started working last month for Magura Direct, a company that distributes German-engineered cycling products from
Magura, Uvex and Vaude.
Matthes said she first dreamed of being an Olympian when she was 3 years old.
Making the Olympic team was such a huge moment for me. It was amazing."