TRI-CITIES TO TOKYO: How Milligan’s Megan Jastrab made the USA Olympic Cycling team

US and World Sports

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) – A California cyclist in the Tennessee hills.

“It’s really nice there like the weather’s always perfect love the riding there but when I got to Tennessee you just go out maybe five minutes and you’re on all the backroads and the rolling hills no traffic no cars the roads are always good,” Megan Jastrab said.

Jastrab joined the Milligan University cycling program in 2019, and quickly got the attention of USA Cycling.

“I got an email, they’re like ‘we want you to live at the training center in Colorado Springs we think you can make it here’s a plan here’s some races that you could possibly do but you’ll need to commit full time to track cycling to try and make the team,” Jastrab said.

She took a semester off to train for the Olympics and had a good shot, until 2020 happened.

“The whole team’s at the training center and we get this call: Tokyo Olympics postponed maybe canceled and we’re just sitting in the hallway like what do we do now,” Jastrab said.

Thankfully the games were never truly canceled, which was motivation to keep training through the pandemic until she, like millions of Americans, was sidelined by this virus by testing positive in January of this year.

“And I have asthma so it was really bad I had to take a month and a half off the bike and I came back to Colorado with altitude still having some symptoms from COVID-19 and I was like I don’t know about this now this put me so far behind,” Jastrab said.

Between the COVID-19 pandemic and actually getting COVID-19, she went 630 days without competing in a real event; she kept training until she got that call.

“I was out on a ride when I got the call and they were like ‘congratulations the board selected you’ and I was like ‘phew thank you that makes my day’ and then I held it together on the phone and then once I hung up I just sat down and started crying I was just so happy,” Jastrab said.

An Olympic cyclist with Tri-Cities ties.

“We’re going to Tokyo so that’s what matters, now the focus is on the next few weeks,” Jastrab said.

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