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Olympian and former world champion Bunki Bankaitis-Davis died on January 29, 2021, after a seven-year battle with cancer. She was 63.
Bankaitis-Davis was a five-time member of the United States world championships road cycling team, a two-time Olympian (Seoul 1988, and Barcelona 1992 as 1st alternate), and a member of the 1992 world champion team time trial squad for which she was team captain. She earned podium positions in the Tour de France Feminin, the Tour of Molenheike, the Post Giro World Cup, European spring classics, and the Coors Classic.
In addition to representing the United States, Bankaitis-Davis raced for teams 7-Eleven, Centurion, and Look during her pro career.
Bankaitis-Davis served on the United States Cycling Federation’s Board of Directors, the United States Olympic Committee Athletes Advisory Council and Sport, Science & Technology Committee, and the USA Cycling Athlete Selection Committee.
Upon her retirement, Bankaitis-Davis pursued a career as a translational scientist who specialized in drug and diagnostic development in corporate, entrepreneurial, and consultative environments. In 1998, she co-founded Source MDx, a privately held molecular diagnostics company in Boulder, Colorado. Recently, she served as vice president of quality and laboratory operations for Scipher Medicine, in Boston, Massachusetts.
As an undergraduate at Cleveland State University, Bankaitis-Davis was named 1979 Female Athlete of the Year, and state MVP in Division 1 NCAA volleyball while also earning a B.S. Chemistry and then an M.S. Carbohydrate Chemistry. She earned a Ph.D. in Synthetic Organic Chemistry from the University of North Carolina.
She was noted for “tackling every stage in life and sport with spirit, determination, excellence, kindness and good humor.”
Bunki Bankaitis-Davis is survived by her husband, Chip, and son, Armen.