Kelly Catlin, a member of the U.S. women’s pursuit team that won a silver medal during the 2016 Olympic Games, died Thursday night, ending her focused, driven life at the age of 23. Her death left her father describing “unbelievable” pain and her sister saying, “I want the world to know there was a human being underneath that hard shell.”
Catlin died in her on-campus residence at Stanford University; her family members confirmed that she died by suicide. “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,” her father, Mark Catlin told VeloNews. “There isn’t a second in which we wouldn’t freely give our lives in exchange for hers. The hurt is unbelievable.”
Catlin was one of a set of triplets; her sister, Christine, wrote in an email that Kelly Catlin was “a really special person — kind, funny, empathetic, and talented at literally everything she did. She just felt like she couldn’t say no to everything that was asked of her and this was her only escape”
A graduate student at Stanford, Catlin was pursuing a degree in computational and mathematical engineering while training for track cycling as a member of the national team and racing as a professional road cyclist. She also excelled at the violin and as an artist.
“Everything she did, she was the best at when we were little kids,” Christine Catlin said in a telephone interview Sunday night. “Sports, violin and she casually picked up cycling. We were the Catlins, so we were this force.”
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