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Buchanan racing towards Rio 2016

27 October 2015

BMX: Jumping on her first bike at age five, London 2012 Olympian Caroline Buchanan has been an adrenaline seeker her entire life.

After recently celebrating her 25th birthday, the Australian BMX rider hopes her two decades of experience will help her qualify for the Rio 2016 Games, with an eye on that elusive Olympic gold.

The LA-based rider narrowly missed out on a podium finish at London, finishing fifth after going into the final as a medal hopeful.

It’s an experience which Buchanan said makes her more prepared for next year’s Games.

“I owe a lot to what happened in London and the World Championships I’ve won since then,” she said.

“I’ve progressed as a rider. I’ve progressed as an athlete and I’m more prepared for Rio.”

Buchanan admits an athlete can never be fully prepared for their first Olympic Games.

“I went in as the World Champion thinking I had every box ticked for that Olympic final and I really surprised myself with the Olympic level.

“You really have to step up on the day.

“It is a whole different ball game, but it’s exciting.

“I owe a lot to the Olympic games and what that taught me, and how to bounce back from adversity and to use adversity.”

Born in Canberra, the Australian Champion splits her time between her home town and the US, running her Next Gen Program, encouraging young females into the sport. The all-girls team includes three Australian riders aged under 14 who have competed in World Championships for the past two years.

Buchanan said watching the team at the World Championships inspires her own performance.

“To see them compete, to get to the semi-finals and get to the finals, and then for myself to go out there and compete as well, I feel like I am part of something bigger than just myself.

“I love inspiring everyone to follow the same amazing journey. To say that I ride a kid’s bike for a living is pretty great.

“The thrill and adrenaline rush that I get from riding is the most amazing experience.”

Buchanan has five World Championships and 16 Australian titles to her name. She won silver at the World Championships in Belgium in July this year, in some of the toughest race conditions she had encountered.

“I walked away from there really happy.

“It was probably the worst weather we’ve had all season, but that is the sort of things we have to deal with.

“Rio is outside as well. Rain, hail or shine, the show goes on.”

The Rio 2016 course will feature a longer and steeper descent than the London 2012 track and is set on a downhill slope.

The Olympian said BMX is becoming more challenging as the sport progresses and the course will be a new experience for all competitors.

"We're hitting speeds that we can't even train because most of the tracks around the world are flat, so it's going to be new to everyone.

"We're talking 65 km/hr by the bottom of the ramp.

"The speeds will add a whole other element to the BMX."

With five more international major races before Rio 2016, with the first event the World Cup held in Argentina, Buchanan hardly has time to rest.

She’ll aim to be one of two Australian women competing at the Games, with selection of the team to be done in mid-2016.

GEORGIA THOMPSON
olympics.com.au

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