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Sho-Air Twenty20 Jennifer Valente prepares for the race of Stage 2 of the 2019 Women’s Colorado Classic in Avon on Friday, August 23, 2019. (Chancey Bush/ The Gazette)

Two years ago, Jennifer Valente flashed a smile when asked about her aspirations for the Tokyo Olympics.

“Everyone wants to win medals, right?” Valente told The Gazette.

UCCS student and Olympic cyclist blends in with the crowd in Colorado Springs

On the final day of the Games, that smile turned golden as the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs student won track cycling’s omnium. Valente led the four-race event from start to finish in securing her third career Olympic medal and second in Tokyo.

Valente won silver in 2016 in Rio de Janeiro in team pursuit, a competition pitting two teams of four cyclists against each other on opposite sides of the velodrome. The U.S. team claimed bronze in the same event last week, with Valente playing a key role.

“We’re happy with bronze,” Valente said.

Bronze-medal winning women's team pursuit cycling team lives, trains in Colorado Springs

No doubt she’s even happier with gold, her first individual Olympic medal.

Valente avoided two crashes late in the first race and outsprinted the field to the line. She held on to a slim lead through the next two races, setting up an explosive final race.

In the last half of that race, Valente got tangled with another rider and went down. But she recovered in time to rejoin the lead pack and then controlled from the front to secure gold.

Valente, the first American to win the Olympic omnium, was overcome with emotion as she celebrated with her coach.

Kajihara Yumi of Japan took silver and Kirsten Wild of the Netherlands took bronze.

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