"Too Young To Die"

Olympic Cyclist Found Dead At 23

by Gottfried Moh

"Too Young To Die"

"The time you won your town the race

We chaired you through the market-place;

Man and boy stood cheering by,

And home we brought you shoulder-high.

Today, the road all runners come,

Shoulder-high we bring you home,

And set you at your threshold down,

Townsman of a stiller town."

It was A. E. Housman, the English classical scholar and poet, who vividly painted the picture of grief in his timeless dirge "To An Athlete Dying Young". It is always sad to hear about the passing of a young talented person, and now the U.S. sports community has to come to terms with the loss of one of its brightest gems.

Olympic cyclist, Kelly Catlin, died late last week at the age of 23. Catlin's brother, Colin, said via a Facebook post shared on Friday March 8 that his sister killed herself.

"She's the one person I had shared almost my. entire life with, and I shall miss her terribly," he wrote in the post.

Catlin, who was a member of the USA Cycling national team, won the silver medal in women's team pursuit at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Catlin with her cycling teammates at the 2016 Olympics | Photo Credit: Youtube

"Kelly was more than an athlete to us, and she will always be part of the USA Cycling family," Rob DeMartini, USA Cycling president and CEO, said in a statement. "The entire cycling community is mourning this immense loss. We are offering continuous support to Kelly's teammates, coaches and staff."

Catlin was a native of Minnesota, according to the USA Cycling website, and was an alumna of the University of Minnesota. She was a graduate student at Stanford University, studying computational mathematics, according to a February guest article she wrote for the cycling magazine Velo News where she described her struggles in juggling her academic and athletic career.

"Being a graduate student, track cyclist, and professional road cyclist can instead feel like I need to time-travel to get everything done. And things still slip through the cracks," she wrote. "It's like juggling with knives, but I really am dropping a lot of them. It's just that most of them hit the floor and not me."

Photo Credit: KFGO.com

Professional cycling team Rally UHC Cycling wrote on their official Twitter account that Catlin's death "hit the team hard."

"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," the team said.

Retired professional cyclist Michael Sayers said her death was a "monumental loss for the cycling community here in the USA."

Death is always hard to take, and when it involves a youth with huge potential, it becomes more difficult to process. It is hoped that the U.S. Olympic cycling team finds a way to deal with this occurrence. Beyond that, it is important to check up on those around us, because we may not know the demons they are battling with.