This week, 43 year old Kristin Armstrong, the two time Olympic gold medal winning cyclist from Boise will compete in the Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro with the distinction of being the first athlete ever sponsored by a crop bred using biotechnology.
She will also be raising awareness about the nutritional value of potatoes and Simplot Plant Sciences’ Innate line of genetically modified Russet Burbank and Ranger Russet potatoes in particular.
Marketed under the “White Russet” label, the first generation of Innate russets contains traits introduced from other potatoes to keep them from browning after cutting, to reduce bruising and reduce the formation of a potentially unhealthy chemical call acrylamide, which is found in certain fried foods. The second generation of Innate, which awaits approval by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, will include the original traits, plus enhanced cold storage and strong resistance to the destructive late blight pathogen.
“I’ve known the folks at Simplot for a long time, and since potatoes are an excellent source of energy and nutrition, this partnership makes sense, especially because White Russet potatoes have health and sustainability benefits,” Armstrong told Capital Press via email. “There’s nothing in these potatoes but potato.”
Armstrong who works promoting healthy lifestyles with Boise’s St. Luke’s Medical Center, typically eats potatoes with her meals before racing, believing they give her a lift. “Potatoes give me just the right combination of nutrients and energy, as well as potassium for leg recovery when I need it,” Armstrong said.
When she’s not competing, Armstrong will pose for photos in a White Russet jersey and she’ll assist Simplot with social media presence. The sponsorship contract with Armstrong will expire next year, and then Simplot and Armstrong will re-evaluate it.
She’ll talk about how she uses potatoes in her training diet, and as an athlete and a mom, how a higher quality potato makes a lot of sense. “I couldn’t be prouder to have the opportunity to once again represent my country in the Olympic games,” Armstrong said. “I am obviously excited to be on the team, and am totally focused on my training so that I can win another gold medal for Team USA.”
We are proud of Kristin Armstrong, and appreciate her representing the Simplot Company and the potato industry at the Olympic games this year.
-Written by Jim O’Connell, Capital Press, July 22, 2016