Currently ranked 12th in the world (UCI World Sprint Ranking), track superstar Mandy Marquardt has her sights set on the 2020 Olympic Games. Diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 16, Mandy knows that being the best right now isn’t enough to get her to the Olympics in four years. The next few years won’t be easy, but she’s laser focused on achieving her dreams.
How did you get into the sport?
I competed for several years before I was diagnosed with diabetes. For me, cycling is an adrenaline rush, and I enjoy riding and traveling to new places. In my first year racing, I won two Junior National Championships. In 2006, I moved to Germany to live with my dad, so that I could go to school and race. At my first German Junior Track Nationals, I took bronze in my favorite event, the 500m Time Trial.
As of August 2017, I currently have 13 National titles.
What events stand out the most to you this season?
A few things stand out include winning all three UCI Sprint events in my hometown of Trexlertown, PA in June. I’ve accumulated 600 valuable UCI Sprint points, and improved my World Sprint Ranking from 22nd to 12th in the world.
At the USA Cycling Elite Track Nationals at the beginning of August, I won the 500 meter Time Trial and Team Sprint and won two silver medals in the Sprint and Keirin.
And more recently, I was selected to represent the United States at the upcoming Elite Pan American Track Championships in Couva, Trinidad & Tobago, August 30 to September 3. This is both a major honor and also a reflection of all the hard work I’ve been putting this year.
What events outside of competition have stood out to you the most?
I always love meeting type 1 families and fans. There is always an instant connection, and these friendships quickly become very strong. We are there for one another! At the 2017 UCI Track World Cup, I met a 13-year-old female cyclist, McKenna Mckee, whose goal is to race for Team Novo Nordisk. She loved the #RacingWithDiabetes hashtag on my top tube and now is rockin’ it too, showing what’s possible with diabetes and spreading this powerful message!
What’s next in your career?
Up next are the Pan American Track Cycling Championships in Couva, Trinidad and Tobago. I raced there earlier this year and set the Women’s 200m Track Record. It’s a great velodrome, and I love the people and culture. I hear it’s going to be a sold out velodrome, so it’ll be loud!
You are a superstar on the track but who are you off the bike?
I laugh a lot! It’s hard being serious all the time, so it’s important to have a good balance between work and fun. Aside from getting my nails done (something I absolutely love doing), you can find me binge watching Netflix and Hulu. In addition to racing, I have a part-time job at Penn State Lehigh Valley where I graduated from in 2014. I serve as the Co-ed Cycling Coach and am on the Alumni Board of Directors. It’s a lot of fun working with student athletes, and to still be a part of the campus community.
What are your favorite events?
The sprints are my favorite event. It starts with a 200m qualifier that seeds you for the sprint rounds. Then I race against another rider on the track, and it becomes a game of cat and mouse. The first rider to cross the line continues onto the next round. From there, you race the quarterfinals, semifinals, and finals, which are all best out of three races. Each race is powerful and very tactical, and you can’t show any weakness. Sticking to my strengths and riding with confidence is what it’s all about.
Here is a look at the Match Sprint:
What are your pet’s names?
Roo, Ruby, Kilo and Links
What goes into Olympic selection and what growth do you feel you need to achieve over the next three years to increase your chances for Olympic selection?
Right now, I feel that my coach and I are headed in the right direction. It’s going to take continued patience and persistence as I train and compete internationally. There are no Olympic Trials. To qualify for the Olympics, my Team Sprint partner and I need to be ranked in the top 3 Americas for the Team Sprint, which automatically opens up individual Olympic Sprint spots. We can also qualify individually through the UCI World Ranking.
Here is a look at the Team Sprint: