Monday, September 5, 2011

Audrey McElmury: The First American To Win The World Road Cycling Championship

Audrey McElmury grew up in La Jolla, California where she was born in October of 1943. He first sport was surfing. She began cycling after breaking her leg falling from a skate board in 1960. She won the California cycling championship in 1964, riding on velodromes because there was no other racing for women.

In 1969 McElmury won the World Road Cycling Championship held in Brno, Czechoslovakia. Audrey raced both track and road. She came seventh in the 3,000m pursuit race, then later rode the 62 km road race. During the road race she got away on the hill by about 15 seconds, but fell in a corner on a rain soaked descent. The pack caught her as she was getting up. McElmury chased the pack with an ambulance following her to see if she was all right. She regained the field on the last lap and then went clear again on the hill. She finished 1 minute 10 seconds ahead of a British rider, Bernadette Swinnerton. Her victory was so unexpected that the award ceremony was delayed half an hour while officials searched for a recording of the American National Anthem.

Returning to the USA in 1969 she won the national omnium championship, in 1970 the pursuit and road championships. She set the national hour record, 24.8 miles at the Encino velodrome in California and held it from 1969 to 1990. McElmury retired from cycling after a crash in 1976 and took up running.

Audrey McElmury winning the World Road Cycling Championship 1969 in Brno, Czechoslovakia in 1969 on rain soaked roads.

On the podium in 1969

Audrey McElmury World Champion

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