BMX Australia keep busted Dean’s Rio dream on track
13 January 2016
BMX: When Anthony Dean crashed to the ground during a routine training session in Brisbane last week his dreams of competing in the BMX competition at the Rio Olympic Games flashed before his eyes.
The world number seven, who was a reserve for the Australian team at the London Olympics Games, broke his collarbone in two places, bruised his ribs and gave himself a hell of a fright, spending the afternoon in hospital.
Dean was given two options to mend the busted collarbone – 12 weeks off the bike to let the injury heal itself or undergo elective surgery to have a plate inserted so he could return to the BMX track within six weeks.
With 12 weeks on the sidelines, Dean’s chance of making his Olympic debut in Rio was all but shot so the 24-year-old chose the second option - but there was one big problem – he didn’t have up to date health insurance and was staring down the barrel of a hospital bill that would have crippled his Olympic preparations.
Enter BMX Australia and their President Barry Knight.
Upon hearing of Dean’s situation, Knight rallied the BMX Australia board and they made the one-off decision to fund yesterday’s surgery in Adelaide, keeping the popular rider’s Olympic dreams alive.
“When I heard about what happened to Anthony my first thought was whether he was okay,” Knight said.
“Once we knew his biggest problem was the busted shoulder and everything else would be alright we went about working out a way to support him financially so he could get the operation and continue with his Olympic dream.
“This is not something that BMX Australia has done before but we had to take the case on it’s merits and make a one off decision for the good of a valuable member of our sport.
“BMX Australia exists for its athletes and members. It’s a family sport and the Dean’s are a BMX family. There’s just no way we could turn our back on someone in such a situation.”
An emotional Dean said he was overcome with the support he had received from within the BMX community.
“I have had so many well wishes from people within the BMX community both here in Australia and overseas that I am quite overwhelmed,” Dean said.
“Right before I went into surgery I got a call from Barry Knight at BMX Australia to wish me luck and let me know that BMXA would be helping cover the cost of the operation.
“It was such a load off my mind and enabled me to start moving forward as soon as the operation was done, rather than be lying there wondering how I’d get the money and how it would effect the budgets I need to get to races to prepare and qualify for the Olympics.
“I can’t express how grateful I am that Barry Knight, BMXA and everyone is 100 per cent behind me as I try and achieve my goals and get to Rio and win a medal.”
Dean will now spend the next three weeks at home in Adelaide recovering and beginning the first phase of rehabilitation on his shoulder, before returning to his training base in California with the aim to be back on the start ramp in full health by the first round of the UCI BMX Supercross World Cup in Santiago Del Estero in Argentina at the end of March.
Even if he makes it to Argentina, he will miss several important events over the coming months.
“I’ll miss the Oceania Championships in New Zealand at the end of this month, the National Championships in Bathurst in early March and also the opening round of the USA series but I’m focussing on what I am going to do, not what I might miss,” Dean said.