Erin Veenstra-Mirabella finished fourth in her most publicized race, the points race on the cycling track in the 2004 Olympics.
She’s first, though, among the inductees in the new Racine County Sports Hall of Fame. The induction honors Veenstra-Mirabellafor an outstanding career that started on the Washington Park Velodrome in Kenosha.
She raced to success in her teen-age years at Racine Park High School, went on to compete in six USA Cycling national championships and the 2000 Olympic games in Sydney, Australia, and the 2004 Games at Athens, Greece.
She held the bronze medal for 14 monhts, during an appeal of a doping charge that disqualified third-place finisher, Maria-Luisa Carlie Williams, of Columbia. Williams was restored to third place and Veenstra-Mirabella lost her medal after the appeal.
The Racine Journal times highlighted the grace and class Veenstra-Mirabells displayed in handling the disappointment.
"I'm at peace with it," said Veenstra-Mirabella, who lives in Woodland Park, Colo., with her husband of 12 years, Chris, and is due to give birth to their third child within a matter of days. "My thought is, if she didn't cheat, she deserves to keep it and if she did cheat, that's between her and God.
"As much as I would have loved to keep it, I was real happy with my performance and all I wanted was to be able to say I did my best."
Veenstra's best was good enough to make her a charter member of the Racine County Sports Hall of Fame. And it's a reward she covets.
"I'm really honored," she said. "To even be considered, I'm very humbled."