Kristin Armstrong believes "the stars aligned" for her to claim a historic third successive Olympic time trial gold in Rio.
Having come out of retirement in a bid to defend her title, Armstrong triumphed once more in wet and windy conditions on the eve of her 43rd birthday - making her the third oldest woman in Olympic history to win an individual event.
Despite her advancing years the American saw no reason to stay away from Rio, and she was delighted to have made history by winning the women's individual time trial for a third time.
"I don't have words to describe it," said Armstrong." When you've already been two times at the pinnacle of the sport, why risk coming back for the gold medal? The best answer I can give is that I can.
"Today the stars aligned. I knew it was going to be a close race. My coach said to me: 'OK, you decide what colour medal you want to have'."
Armstrong took inspiration from compatriot Mara Abbott, who agonisingly missed out on a medal in the women's road race after leading into the closing stages.
"I dug so deep. I thought about Mara, and I gave everything for her in the final five kilometres," she added.
"To hear the national anthem on the podium, that's my favourite part of the Olympics."
Anna van der Breggen came third, behind Russia's Olga Zabelinskaya, to add bronze to her road race gold.
The Dutchwoman admitted it had been an emotional journey in Rio, with the injuries sustained by Annemiek van Vleuten in last Saturday's race still on her mind.
"It was very hard. I needed to find my rhythm, but in the end, it was OK for a medal. I am very happy, because I had two chances to win a medal here," Van der Breggen said.
"It's really been emotional here for us after what happened in the road race. Everyone gave it their all. It's very emotional that I win the medal again."