Not all former athletes suffer from a black hole. Christina Birch, the 11th American champion in all types of cycling, has made a remarkable career transformation. She is selected from among 12,000 candidates for NASA’s astronaut program, after which she can effectively fly into space.
Birch, 35, got into cycling during her academic career. She earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics, biochemistry, and molecular biophysics before switching to track cycling with the MIT cycling team. After receiving her Ph.D., cycling became her full-time profession. Birch also competed in cyclocross and gravel races.
Last summer she was on the long list to go to Tokyo with the US track team, but in the end she wasn’t allowed to travel.
Thus, within two years, she will be eligible for a unique trip. It’s one of ten lucky ones – out of about 12,000 candidates – set up for future Artemis missions to the moon.
Training will begin in January and after two years of intense training, Christina Birch should be ready for a space mission.