Shanaze Reade is a regular in the media at the moment as expected with the run up to London. More promotion for BMX and show casing our sport to the mainstream . This article was from yesterday:
14 March 2012 – Thisislondon.co.uk
Shanaze Reade has, at times, dominated BMX on the world stage on a level with the post-war New York Yankees, the Manchester United sides of the 1990s and Tiger Woods in his pomp.
But for all her success, which began with a world title in her debut season in the professional ranks, she is rather harshly still defined by a crash, or more accurately, crashes.
Reade came off her bike three times in her bid to be crowned champion when BMX made its Olympic debut in Beijing four years ago.
The pre-Games hype told the public that she was nailed on for gold so, when it all ended, sprawled in a heap of gravel following the most audacious of jumps in the final, it was a massive disappointment.
Here was a British cyclist that had failed and, in Beijing, that didn’t really happen to British cyclists. Both physically and mentally, the scars have healed to the extent that she can even talk about events at her first Games as if they were a good thing.
“I know what it’s like not to win at an Olympics,” said the half-Jamaican, half-Irish cyclist from Crewe. Going to Beijing, I got to a point where I thought I’d win everything I entered. Don’t get me wrong, I’d like to have won gold but not winning gives me something extra to strive for — it keeps you on your toes.”
After Beijing, she effectively locked herself away, immersed herself within her family and, with the help of them and British Cycling’s sports psychiatrist Steve Peters, rebuilt herself mentally.
“I’ve had some time with Steve and he really helped but it was my friends and family really that put me back together,” said the three-time world champion. “When I got home, I just shut the door and it was just me and my family on my own. I basically just surrounded myself with people that were positive and encouraging.”
There is sense to Reade’s logic that her Beijing failure might have been a bonus. Unlike her track peers, the level of expectation is far lower in London and, for all her continued dominance, she is relatively under the radar in comparison. “I really feel that there’s no pressure unlike Jess Ennis, Tom Daley or the track cyclists,” she says. “It’s nice to have less pressure than in the past.”
On the subject of crashes, Reade cannot recall her first but vividly remembers the last, on four wheels as opposed to two.
During the cold snap last month, she was driving back from the track with a friend when she underwent a 180° spin that left her stranded on the motorway facing the fast-approaching oncoming traffic.
“It was crazy,” she said. “Some cars whizzed by us but managed to avoid us and then the other traffic came to a stop in front of us. That was pretty freaky as everyone was just sitting in their cars looking at us.”
The accident has helped give her further perspective on her bid to win Olympic gold.
“I just want to do my best, the same as last time and I’m not thinking about a medal,” she says, with the psychological boost over her rivals of having won the BMX test event at the Olympic Park last August. “It was the first and last time we’ll ride there so it’s nice to win at my home track where the Olympics will be, particularly as the next time I’ll be there it’ll be for the Games.”
Her victory was all the sweeter as it came a month after losing her world title in Copenhagen where she did not have the chance to go for gold after missing her gate in the semi-final. Unlike Sir Chris Hoy with the velodrome, Reade was not consulted on the design of the BMX venue in London but, thankfully, it appears to play to her strengths.
“It’s open to quite a lot of pedalling so that really suits me,” said Reade, who it’s easy to forget is still relatively young. She was 19 at the last Olympics and, although she seems like a veteran in her sport, is still a mere 23 years of age.
She still talks with youthful enthusiasm about the sport that first captured her imagination as a 10-year-old.
“I think I love BMX even more now,” she said. “There’s still the adrenalin rush of landing a big jump, the buzz of winning a competition and I still get excited about getting my new bike for each season.”
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