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'Mama, why are you crying?' Cyclist gets hug from son after winning gold

Exhausted U.S. cyclist Kristin Armstrong received a joyous hug from her 5-year-old son after capturing a historic third gold medal and collapsing.
/ Source: TODAY

American cyclist Kristin Armstrong pushed so hard to win a historic third gold medal on Wednesday that it left her collapsed on the ground with a bloody nose.

Once she was treated by the medical staff in Rio de Janeiro after winning the individual time trial, she received the best medicine of all - a hug from her 5-year-old son Lucas.

"Mama, why are you crying?" Lucas asked, according to The Associated Press. "You won!"

Kristin Armstrong with her son
Kristin Armstrong hugs her son Lucas Armstrong Savola, 5, after she won the gold medal in the women's cycling road individual time trial at Rio 2016 on Wednesday, August 10, 2016.AAron Ontiveroz / Denver Post via Getty Images

"That's what we do, we cry when we're happy,'' she replied.

Lucas joined his exhausted mom in the euphoria of history after she became the first female U.S. Olympian to ever win three gold medals in the same individual event at the Summer Olympics.

Kristin Armstrong with her son
U.S. cyclist Kristin Armstrong got a big hug from son Lucas, 5, after collapsing in exhaustion following her victory in the individual time trial on Wednesday for her third Olympic gold medal.Bryn Lennon / Getty Images
Kristin Armstrong with her son
Armstrong, who celebrated her 43rd birthday on Thursday, initially retired from cycling when Lucas was born in 2010 but has since come back to win two more gold medals.Bryn Lennon / Getty Images

Armstrong also became the oldest female cycling gold medalist of all time, as she celebrated her 43rd birthday on Thursday.

To mark the occasion, she was given a birthday cake on TODAY and also received a special birthday wish from Olympic beach volleyball legend Kerri Walsh Jennings.

WATCH on Gold medalist Kristin Armstrong celebrates birthday on TODAY

"Yes, I can eat my cake too!" Armstrong said a day after her historic victory.

Kristin Armstrong with her son
Armstrong said the push for this gold medal was "the most difficult journey" of the three, but it ended in sweet fashion with a hug from Lucas.Bryn Lennon / Getty Images

After winning gold in 2008, Armstrong initially retired from the sport after giving birth to Lucas in 2010.

She made her triumphant return and then once again announced her retirement after winning gold in London. However, she was drawn back to cycling again in 2015 on her way to qualifying for Rio.

"It's really hard to measure each of these journeys up,'' she said. "I would say this has been the most difficult journey for a lot of different reasons. Mainly, we don't get younger every day.

"I'm all about pushing the envelope and setting high goals and showing the world that no matter how old, how young, it doesn't matter who you are, if you believe in yourself, you can make things happen."

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Armstrong battled wind, rain and a nosebleed that started near the end of the race on Wednesday to secure the victory, which was helped by some encouraging words.

"With 5K to go, (my coach) got on the radio and he said, 'All right. Here's the deal. It's up to you what color medal you want to bring home,''' she said. "At that point I went from 48 kilometers an hour to 53 kilometers an hour. I just went crazy. It really drove me."

Follow writer Scott Stump on Twitter.