Monday, April 15, 2019

Rebecca Twigg: The Kind of Follow Up You Never Want to Write

A few years ago, I wrote an article Whatever Happened To Rebecca Twigg? The occasion was her 52nd birthday and it was an overview of her stellar career as one of America's best bicycle racers, and the love that I and so many others had for her. It turned out to be one of the most-read articles on this blog. Some time after that article posted, people started reaching out that there were some rumours about Rebecca and possible homelessness - that she may have been drifting from one acquaintance to another looking for places to stay, or maybe living out of a car. It was such an awful thing to contemplate, and I could only hope it wasn't true.

An article that appeared today in the Seattle Times made it pretty clear that the stories were true.

Writer Scott Greenstone managed to track down Rebecca's whereabouts and talk with her about her experiences. I won't recap the whole article here - just follow the links and read it. But essentially, the article gets into how transitioning from bicycle racing to the regular workforce was a struggle for her. Through years of travelling and training, she had kind of lost her "home base," and struggled to find the right career fit. Anxieties set in, and things went from bad to worse. Though there were often people who were willing to help, it was difficult for her to accept that help.

Near the end of the article, Rebecca says, "Shelters are great, but there has to be a next step. . . The point is not so much that I need help, it's that there are a bunch of people who need help -- 12,000 in this area, half a million in the country. Help should be provided for everybody, not just a few."

I don't know if there will be a happy epilogue to the story. Maybe the article will spur something to change and maybe things will turn around. It kind of sounds like she might not accept help that may be offered - particularly if it feels like a handout. But maybe just some help getting back on her feet and back on track. I just don't know. I. Just. Don't. Know.


  1. This breaks my heart. And yes, i had a crush on Rebecca ever since i'd seen her ride at the World's in Colorado. i hope that soon she will allow herself to accept help from the people who care about her.

  2. Everybody had a crush on Rebecca back then (Inga Thompson too). I shot the '84 Olympic road races for Winning Magazine and remember the excitement we all felt due to the existence of an Olympic women's road race. We can only hope she gets back into a comfortable, happy life.

  3. I saw this after hearing about the fire in the Notre Dame cathedral. Such a terrible day!

  4. e fact that a brilliant, gifted young womanshould come to this is heartbreaking. That this story should challenge the hackneyed narrative that conflates wealth with ability is a little hopeful; we all know that stories of merit with hardship are buried lest the proletariat get a scent in their nostrils of fair taxation. That would never do. Rebecca should be making 400k a year according to that worn out narrative. And look at our current business and political leaders.....really?

    1. You are correct about the current business and political leaders being part of the problem. But so are schools. Schools should be at the forefront with setting up internships for their students. Not what, but who you know gets you the job. Once you have the job, what you know can help you keep it but there are many people who are being just as cruel as our current business and political leaders. We are now living in the FSA.

  5. I feel sort of like Peter in Acts 3:6, but stripped of even the ability he had to help. He didn't have money but had spiritual gifts, IOW, I have no money or spiritual gifts to help Ms. Twigg and others. It really is critical, especially in the field she is in that you bypass the HR staff. I can remember the HR at a company I worked for on contract that kept giving this guy I worked for who was looking for Unix / Linux System Administrators resumes where all the person knew was MS Word. Now if you have a way to take 300,000 AutoCad and other Engineering drawings all in folder (directory) using nothing but Bourne / Korn shell scripting and some hasty C programming to shove them into folders with an intelligent scheme (I did it), THAT is the skill set they are looking for. When I finished, the engineers and draftsmen could get anything they wanted with just four mouse button clicks. So you must bypass the HR staff because they don't even know what I just said. This extends to all fields and you don't even use the word Computer Scientist any more. Do extensive footprinting of the company you want to work for to find the people you should approach.
    Once you get a good job, keep it. If you think you are going to lose that job, search immediately for another job while you are still working. It is infinitely harder to get a job when you are unemployed than if you are currently working.
    For some reason, I suspect Ms. Twigg may have faced sexual harassment on the job she had. Make sure you network with as many other people as possible to avoid getting into conditions like that. These other people that you know are critical to moving on to better working conditions. The longer your list of people you know that can help you or you can help them the better off you will be. If you know others where you can help them, HELP THEM! If you want them to be homeless, I don't want anything to do with you. I want to be with good people and so do you.
    I will try to give other pointers that will help but I just gave some of the bigger ones. Oh, avoid some government agencies, especially if they make you an offer you cannot refuse. They are nothing but lies. Watch the movie "Enemy of the State" and you will get the idea. Now I feel like Joubert who is giving advice to Condor in the movie "Three Days of the Condor" and yes it really is that bad. By that I mean in the real world.