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Not many athletes know the kind of excruciating disappointment that bike racer Arielle Martin has felt, having a lifetime achievement — reaching the Olympic Games — slip through her fingers at the last possible moment.

But now, it's all just part of a wonderful backstory.

Finally, Martin is going to the Olympics.

The Cedar Hills native and Brigham Young University graduate clinched a spot at this summer's London Games on Saturday by finishing fourth at the BMX World Championships in England.

The triumph exorcised the demons that have haunted Martin ever since she crashed in the quarterfinals of the worlds four years ago, allowing her roommate and good friend to slip past at her very last opportunity and claim the only spot for an American woman in her sport at the 2008 Beijing Games.

"I haven't felt this free since then," Martin said over the phone in the moments after the race Saturday, even before she spoke with her husband. "Big monkey is off my back, and I am thrilled to going to London."

Who wouldn't be?

Martin had to stay home in Utah four years ago, while her friend Jill Kintner won a bronze medal in Beijing.

It was a nice gesture, yet small consolation, that Kintner insisted that half of the medal belonged to Martin for continuing to help Kintner train, even after Kintner had beaten her out.

Martin resolved that she would be back.

Four years later, she used her vast experience to crucially avoid a crash in the final that claimed teammate Alise Post and ensured Martin would not be overtaken in the USA Cycling point standings that determine who earns the only automatic spot for London.

"I was in the right place at the right time," Martin said.

The success could hardly have come at a better time than Memorial Day weekend, considering Martin's husband is an active-duty Army sergeant and Black Hawk helicopter crew chief stationed at Ft. Lewis in Washington.

Martin mostly splits her time now between Spanaway, near her husband's base, and the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, Calif.

But she grew up in Cedar Hills and Pleasant Grove, attended Lone Peak High School and perfected her racing skills on tracks from Tooele to Provo.

Finally, after all these years and all that disappointment, she's taking those skills to the Olympics.

"I can't even describe the feeling," Martin said. "That disappointment coming off of Beijing, you know ... I was thinking about it earlier, and I'm so glad it took that route. I'm more mature, I'm more ready. It was just a phenomenal experience."

Rest assured, it's about to get a lot better, too.

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