USA Cycling Director of Endurance Programs Jim Miller was awarded the Order of Ikkos medallion by the U.S. Olympic Committee for his role at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.
Presented to the personal coach of U.S. Olympic medalists, the Order of Ikkos medallion was given to Miller by USOC Coaching Education Manager Cathy Sellers during a brief ceremony Wednesday at the opening of the biennial USA Cycling Coaching Summit. As her personal coach, Miller guided Kristin Armstrong to a gold medal in the women’s individual time trial in Beijing. The accomplishment marked only the second gold medal in U.S. women’s road cycling history and the first since 1984, when Connie Carpenter-Phinney won gold in the women's road race ahead of compatriot Rebecca Twigg.
“Although Kristin winning the gold medal in Beijing was reward enough for me, it’s an honor to be recognized by the USOC as a component to Kristin’s success,” Miller said. “In our profession, it should always be about the athlete, but for the USOC to take the time to recognize the coaches of Olympic medalists is nice.”
Miller has been Armstrong’s coach since 2002 and has long played an integral role in her successful career. In addition to her Olympic gold medal last August, Armstrong also lists a world time trial title, three world championship medals, five national titles and several major UCI race wins on her résumé.
“Winning the Olympic gold didn’t happen overnight,” Armstrong said. “It has been six years of hard work from not only myself, but also from Jim. As I have grown as an athlete, Jim has grown beside me as a coach, always keeping me one step ahead. There hasn’t been a year that’s gone by in which we’ve done the exact same program. There is always change, which keeps training interesting and both of us motivated.
"Once we have success or failure, we put our heads together and talk about what our next goal is. It has been an amazing partnership. We won this Olympic gold medal together.”
The Order of Ikkos is named after Ikkos of Tarentum, the first recognized coach of athletes according to Greek history and champion pentathlete in 444 B.C. The purpose of the medallion is to recognize the coach for their integral part in the success of their Olympians, since it is not tradition for them to receive a medal or recognition from the IOC.
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