01 October 2020

London 2012: BMX Rider Shanaze Reade says “I wanted to quit”

March 29, 2012

At Beijing 2008, Britain’s BMX gold medal favourite Shanaze Reade crashed out of her Olympic final.

“In a matter of seconds my Olympic dream was over,” she told BBC Sport, and she even thought of quitting the sport afterwards.

“I didn’t want to do BMX. But then I saw my grandad come home from work miserable and realised I never felt that from BMX.

“But if I was to say I got over it quickly, then I’d be lying.”

There are plenty of other Olympic sports where, if you don’t win the gold, you at least don’t end up literally lying in the dirt with everyone else flying past you – she learned some lessons at the 2008 Olympics.

“It was one of the hardest things I’ve faced in my career,” she says. “I was in complete shock because I’d won the world title just three months previously.”

Reade has won three BMX world titles, two world team sprint golds and this year, she gets two shots at a home event; the forthcoming BMX World Championships in Birmingham and then the London 2012 Olympics.

“Not every athlete from other countries get to have a dry run [in their own country] before the Olympics.

“I get to have my family and friends there and test out the atmosphere. Because it’s indoors there’ll be a roar around the arena.”

Elements of naivety crept in during 2008 as she was clearly expected by everyone else to win the gold medal and looked like she went in too aggressively with her ride. But she no longer takes anything for granted.

“Even in the week leading up [to a big race], I don’t think about winning,” she said. “I think of the process, each part of the track.

“If I get through that, then the results take care of themselves. I don’t go in wanting to win, but to do the best I can.”

The BMX World Championships takes places 24 – 27 May 2012 at the Birmingham NIA.

More info: bmxworldchamps.co.uk

Lizzie Flint, Sportsister
The Women’s Sports Magazine

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