As a teenager, Leah Kirchmann spent her winters racing on cross-country skis and her summers racing on bikes. She achieved a major highlight in 2008 when she competed at the junior world championships in both road cycling and mountain biking. But when it came time to pick one sport to focus on, road cycling won out. In 2010 she competed at her first Commonwealth Games. A year later, she finished 10th in the road race at the Pan American Championships and made her world championship debut. In 2012 she won road race silver at the Pan American Championships. Kirchmann had an eventful year in 2014. She broke her clavicle for the second time in her career, but also competed at her second Commonwealth Games and finished fourth in the team time trial at the world championships with her Optum powered by Kelly Benefit Strategies trade team. Her biggest highlights were becoming the first Canadian to sweep the national titles in the road race, time trial and criterium as well as her third place finish in the one-day 89km La course by Le Tour de France. In 2015 Kirchmann finished second in the road race and third in the time trial at the Canadian championships. She finished third in the Grand Prix Cycliste de Gatineau road race in 2016 before making her Olympic debut in Rio.

Getting to know…

Family: Parents Rob and Gina Kirchmann… Younger brothers Julian and Shaun… Getting into the Sport: Started cycling at age 13 with the Kids in the Mud mountain bike program in Winnipeg as training for cross-country skiing… Was quickly hooked after a few good battles through the mud… Liked the combination of physical, technical, tactical and mental challenges… The provincial coach immediately recruited her to the road team… Outside Interests: Enjoys cross-country skiing, hiking, cooking, mountain biking, yoga… Graduated from Quest University with a Bachelor of Arts and Sciences in Public Health Nutrition…  Supports Fast and Female as an athlete ambassador… Odds and Ends: Always needs to have coffee and do a bit of yoga before racing… Favorite quote: “Every time I see an adult on a bicycle, I no longer despair for the future of the human race” – H.G. Wells