In Daniel de Visé’s article with The Outer Line last month, he mentioned that two-time Olympic medalist Rebecca Twigg was homeless, living out of her car in Seattle. Since then, Seattle Times reporter Scott Greenstone caught up with this legend of American cycling to tell her story.
“Some of the hard days are really painful when you’re training for racing,” Twigg told Greenstone, “but being homeless, when you have little hope or knowledge of where the finish line is going to be, is just as hard.”
In his piece, he explains how the six-time world champion has been without an actual home since her teenage years when her mother kicked her out of the house.
Over the following years, she stayed with friends or fellow racers, traveling the country as a pro cyclist but never making much more than $50,000 a year.
“I kind of lost my home base because I traveled so much,” Twigg, now 56, said.
Her career seemed to be headed in the right direction when she won the silver medal at the 1984 Olympics, losing to fellow American Connie Carpenter in a close sprint finish. After that, she transitioned to racing on the velodrome as a pursuit specialist and took another silver at the 1992 Games.
After retiring from pro racing in 1997, she tried to make her way in the fields of IT and massage therapy, but her life gradually unraveled and she ended up homeless, moving from one shelter to another in Seattle.
In her article with the Seattle Times, she emphasized that her story should bring attention to the broader issue of homelessness.
“The point is not so much that I need help, it’s that there are a bunch of people who need help — 12,000 in this area, half a million in the country,” Twigg said. “Help should be provided for everybody, not just a few.”