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“She just took off:” Monarch grad Maddie Godby headed to Tokyo Olympics for cycling

Maddie Godby, bottom, races the final ...
Maddie Godby, bottom, races the final lap in the women’s keirin at the Milton World Cup event in Milton, Ontario, in Jan. of 2020.

It may have taken Maddie Godby a while to find her cycling passion, but now it’s leading her to great places.

Next month, the 28-year-old Monarch High graduate will take her talents to Tokyo for the 2021 Olympic Games in two forms of track cycling: the keirin and match sprints. The road to get there, though long and arduous, is finally paying off.

According to, “the Keirin is a massed start sprint event of six or eight laps in length. During the first three and a half to five and a half laps, the riders are paced by a ‘pacer’ or motorcycle. The speed starts slowly at 20 (kilometers per hour) and gradually accelerates to 40 kph before the ‘pacer’ pulls off the track, leaving the riders to sprint for the finish.”

In the six-lap female Olympic competition, the pacer will lead the riders to 50 kph in the first three laps before peeling off. The competitors will then sprint to speeds up to 65 kph before crossing the finish line.

The match sprint involves a one-on-one format.

Though many sports in the world of Olympic preparation were thrown out of balance with the COVID-19 pandemic and eventual postponement of the 2020 Games, cycling athletes got the better end of the deal. Maddie was lucky enough to secure her spot in Tokyo right before the pandemic really started to take hold all over the globe.

“We were really lucky in that we finished world championships like two weeks before they really shut down the world,” she said. “We had finished the qualification process — it was cut and dry — so we were really lucky with that.”

Maddie’s fast track to Tokyo, however, started long before the past two-season qualification process. The Godby lifestyle has circulated around the sport for many years, starting with her father Tim and her brother Zane.

Zane will also travel to Tokyo with Team USA Cycling as a track mechanic to cheer on his sister and the rest of the athletes he’s spent so much time supporting through his work.

“It’ll be very rewarding to see all of the Team USA athletes perform because all of them, they’ve worked their entire lives for that moment. It’s very cool to see and share that moment with everybody,” Zane said. “I’m very anxious but I’ll be glad once it all starts to get into the swing of things and just get it going. There’s stress on the athletes to perform but then there’s also stress on all of the staff to make sure that the riders are performing their best (with their equipment).”

Maddie’s love for the sport came years later and, once she committed to her discipline of choice, she gave it all she had.

“When she decided to do something, she did it really, really well and with everything,” her mother Ann said. “When she was 16, there were two women and they started the Flatirons Flyers — Missy Thompson and Cari Higgins — and they started a junior team out of Boulder. Maddie loved the idea that it was two women, so she was like, ‘I’m going to start racing.’ … We got her a hand-me-down bike and she just took off. Cari and Missy were very influential in the track scene, so they took the kids down to the track at Colorado Springs and when Maddie went on the track, she just fell in love.”

Over the past few years, Maddie has won several World Cup medals in both events. She competed in the Hong Kong Nations Cup in April of this year and won bronze in the keirin. She can only go up from here when she leaves for the world’s most visible Games at the end of July.

She’ll take to the track for the keirin on August 4 and 5 and the match sprints are scheduled for August 6, 7 and 8.

“It was a huge goal that I was working towards so to accomplish it, it’s really exciting,” Maddie said. “There are certainly nerves as we get closer of just wanting to do well, and I think a lot of that comes from, we don’t know how it’s going to go. A lot of people haven’t even raced. Some have raced a couple times, so there are just a lot of question marks of how people are going to go and how the racing is going to go, so I’m excited but nervous. Training right now is just standard final prep. It’s going well. I feel strong and healthy, so I’m lucky.”

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