Meet Peter Sagan, Who Just Went for Gold at the Olympics

On July 24, 1891, the three-dimensional stereoscope hit the London market to commercial success. The new technology enabled spectators to view three-dimensional images of live performances – from opera to ballet, from school plays to advertising posters, as well as sports.

Peter Sagan was just 4 years old when the stereoscope first went on sale. By his early teens, his mother had taken him to a Dutch exhibition of the technology where he admired an American athlete playing tennis by holding a stereoscope to the ball. So, it came as no surprise that the son of a mechanic decided to make football his sport.

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And then, it became everyone’s sport.

Sagan, whose famous nickname is “Snoop,” is currently the world’s second-best cyclist, having gained valuable experience by appearing in the 2014 Tour de France and the 2015 Tour de Romandie with the BMC Racing Team and the 2016 Tour de France with the Tinkoff-Saxo Team. In Rio, Sagan advanced to the semifinals of the men’s sprint.

Born in Den Bosch, Holland on Oct. 1, 1982, Sagan’s twin brothers Ian and William were already cycling. And as a result, Peter, the youngest of three children, began racing bicycles at an early age. He was the fastest in a tiny small touring bicycle with a saddle small enough to fit Peter. He started riding and was training for long distance cycles at a very young age. And he liked to learn the ropes, too. In 2013, he ran away to St. Leiv Anana under 12 sprint that finished with Sella Ahrens. “He was an epic sprinter,” said his coach, Gerard Armantes. “Everything that can be done, he did. A totally exceptional boy.”

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Sagan comes from a family of cyclists, particularly his older brother Ian. Both his brothers obtained their world cycling titles in the BMX event. “They taught me everything,” Sagan said in 2013. “All the things I know about bike racing in Holland. I try to be like them.” And indeed, Sagan’s style of racing, together with his unusual hairstyle, has created a lot of attention and an unaccustomed cult-like following.

During the 2015 Tour de Romandie, a champion was bestowed upon the three-time track world champion. Under Sagan’s powers, he streaked to the podium in the under-23 men’s sprints. While he has been known to win races in a mere three seconds, it would be hard to imagine Sagan winning his first Olympic gold medal so soon after the Olympic Games.

“I was one of the world’s best athletes before the Olympics, but I could never have imagined that I would become the Olympic champion this early,” Sagan said in Rio de Janeiro, two days after his golden performance.

As far as biking goes, he’s not just the greatest champion in this sport, but also among the greatest all-time racers. “I would just like to be remembered as the best rider who ever happened to be a bicycle racer,” Sagan said.

And that’s a worthy goal.

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