Hometown: Trexlertown, PA, United States
Age of diagnosis: 16
"Chasing my Olympic dream and instilling hope and inspiration to people affected by diabetes fuels me to be the best athlete that I can be every time I get on my bike."

Track superstar and USA Cycling National Team member Mandy Marquardt has her sights set on the 2020 Olympic Games. Diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 16, Marquardt represents the United States and Team Novo Nordisk around the globe as she chases her dreams of becoming an Olympian and inspiring people affected by diabetes.

Marquardt started competing at a young age, even before she was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. In her first year racing, the then 10-year-old Marquardt won two USA Cycling Junior National Road Championships. In 2006, she moved to Germany to live with her father to gain experience racing in Europe. In August 2007, shortly after making the Baden-Württemberg State Team, she took bronze in the 500m Time Trial at the German Junior National Track Championships.

In November 2007, Marquardt went in for V02 max testing and bloodwork when doctors discovered she had elevated blood sugar levels. She was hospitalized for two weeks, couldn’t exercise, and had many tests to ensure all her organs were functioning properly. She was scared, and the doctor told her that she would never be able to compete at a high elite level.

Marquardt was determined to get back on the bike. She was provided with the resources and insight to manage her diabetes, as well as the support from her parents and began working closely with an endocrinologist to get back on the bike and compete. In November 2008, Marquardt competed in the 500m Time Trial at the German Junior National Track Championships for the first time as a person living with diabetes. She took home bronze, which reassured Marquardt that she still could race and earn results with diabetes.

In 2014, Marquardt graduated from Penn State Lehigh Valley where she received a bachelor’s degree in business management and marketing. After graduation, Marquardt dedicated her focus to her cycling career and took a coaching position at the university to help support her dreams. She has since represented the United States at multiple UCI Track Cycling World Cups.

In 2016, Marquardt was named to the U.S. Olympic ‘Long Team’ for track sprinting. The two-year Olympic Qualification process provided Marquardt with international experience, but the U.S. female track sprinters didn’t qualify for the games.

Career highlights include 18-time U.S. National Champion, two-time U.S. National Track Record Holder – 500m Time Trial and Team Sprint (2016), Pan American Track Champion (2017 Team Sprint), five-time Pan American Track medallist (2016 Team Sprint-Bronze, 2017 Keirin-Silver, 2017 500m Time Trial-Bronze, 2018 Team Sprint-Silver, 2019 Sprint-Bronze), 2018, 2019 and 2020 USA Cycling World Championships team member and continuous Team USA World Cup team member (since 2014).

The 28-year-old Olympic hopeful lives in Allentown, Pennsylvania and spends part of the year training at the Velo Sports Center in Carson, California. When in Pennsylvania, Marquardt trains with Edge Cycling and is coached by Edge Cycling Director Andrew Harris. She also serves on the Penn State Lehigh Valley Alumni Society Board of Directors and supports campus community events whenever she is in town. Marquardt remains a Penn State Lehigh Valley cycling coach but has had to take a backseat to prioritize her quest to become an Olympian.


Diabetes Q&A

Tell us about when you were diagnosed and how you found out?

I went in for metabolic-lactate threshold testing and blood work. Shortly after, they told me my blood sugars were high and I went straight to the hospital where I was diagnosed.

What was your initial reaction?

At first, I was shocked and in denial. I didn’t know much about diabetes, so I was really confused on how I was going to manage it and continue to race my bike.

How did your family/friends/fellow athletes react?

Since I was very active, they were surprised, but they were eager to learn more about type 1 diabetes; and they were very supportive.

Did you think your days as an athlete were over? Did others? What did your health care professionals say?

At the hospital, the doctor said I was likely never going to be able to compete at a high level again. But after I learned more about diabetes management, I was determined to prove that I could and take control of my lifestyle. I love cycling, and it’s a big part of my life. I could never let anything take that away from me.

What was it like riding with diabetes and how did you adjust?

It was a difficult adjustment, but I worked closely with my diabetes educator, monitoring my blood sugars and learning how different types of foods affected my blood glucose levels. It was all trial and error, but after some time, I learned what worked best for me.

Sports Q&A

Tell us about how you got started in your sport.

My dad was an active cyclist. I was into running and swimming and was interested in doing triathlons, so my parents took me to the Brian Piccolo Velodrome in Fort Lauderdale, FL. That’s where I first learned how to ride a track bike.

When did you start competing?

At the age of 10.

What do you think is your biggest achievement in your athletic career?

Winning four national championships (road and track), winning five Florida State Track Champions, and?two Collegiate National Championships.

What is your favorite memory from a race/competition?

I have a lot, but it’s always great to exceed my own expectations, learn and improve on various skills.

Being part of Team Novo Nordisk

How did you come to join Team Novo Nordisk?

A rider on the team put me in touch with the team director.

How has your life changed since you joined the team (both as an athlete and as a person)?

It’s helped me to realize that if I want to race and train at my best, I need to manage my diabetes. Racing alongside other athletes with diabetes has given me a positive outlook about what it means to be living and racing with diabetes.