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Five Australian daredevils chasing BMX glory in Rio

5 July 2016

CYCLING –BMX: Five Australian daredevils have today been confirmed to speed around Rio’s Olympic BMX Centre this August, hunting for the perfect race and Olympic gold.

Caroline Buchanan, Lauren Reynolds and Sam Willoughby will become Australia’s first dual BMX Olympians while Anthony Dean and Bodi Turner will both be on Olympic debut at the first South American Games.

All five of the athletes head to Rio inside the world’s top 20 and have ambitions of Olympic glory come August.

Buchanan is currently the top ranked woman’s rider in the world and recently finished with silver at the World Championships in Colombia. With four more years of experience under her belt she knows what it will take to win an Olympic gold medal in Rio after placing fifth in London.

“Coming into Rio, knowing what to expect and having been there before and having been through the qualification process, I am now a lot calmer and it has been ticking the boxes of planning and preparation,” Buchanan said.

“The goal is for Rio redemption – to win gold.

“The toughest competitor is always yourself. I battled my own mindset and nerves got the better of me in London. Four years on with three more world titles and five more World Cup wins I am a different athlete coming into Rio.”

With just the final few weeks of preparation to be finalised, Buchanan is starting to remember just what it felt like to line up in the green and gold on sport’s greatest stage.

“To put on the Australian Olympic uniform and have that proud moment of being able to call myself an Australian Olympian and race for my country will be special. I am most looking forward to being on the start gate, in a final for that ‘Olympic moment.’”

Willoughby was also there in 2012 where he etched his name in Australian Olympic history having won the nation’s first BMX Olympic medal with silver in London. This time around he is again well in the hunt.

“It’s a great honour to have the opportunity to represent my sport and country again on the biggest stage,” the dual World Champion said.

“I’m looking forward to again being part of such a historical event. I just want to take it all in and give it my all.”

Willoughby has been training with the Australian contingent in San Diego, USA where there is a custom built Rio replica track.

“I’ve been able to prepare for Rio from the comfort of my own home in San Diego this time around which has made a big difference.

“Thinking about it I’m coming into Rio with a lot more experience under my belt. My mentality is still the same though- cross all T’s, dot all the I’s - be selfish in preparation and surround yourself with great people.”

Dean is one of the newcomers to Olympic competition but after years of dedication it almost all came unstuck at the start of the Olympic year.

The 25-year-old broke his collarbone in a crash keeping him out of competition for the early part of the season but he was always confident he would return and make the Rio Team.

“It feels great to have accomplished my long term goals and be selected for Rio,” Dean said.

“The unfortunate crash and time away from training only hindered the start of my 2016 racing season which wasn't ideal as I missed some key events. I've put myself in a good situation since 2013 placing high in the world rankings to put myself in a positive position for selection early on.”

Dean has since bounced back to form making the semi-finals at the 2016 World Championships before claiming a big win the US.

“My preparation is going great at the moment. I had a USA Pro series race two weeks ago in Salt Lake City where I took first place ahead of newly crowned World Champion Joris Daudet.

“My goal for Rio is without a doubt to ride a medal winning performance which I am more than capable of doing.”

The BMX competition opens with the men’s and women’s seeding run on Day 12. The men’s quarter-finals run on Day 13 with the semi-finals and medal races on Day 14 for men and women.

These five athletes, along with the other 20 cycling athletes selected today, take the overall 2016 Australian Olympic Team to 301 from 22 sports, with an expected final Team of over 400 athletes. Complete biographies on all selected athletes here>>>

BMX Riders Selected for the 2016 Australian Olympic Team

Caroline Buchanan - 2nd Games
Anthony Dean - 1st Games
Lauren Reynolds - 2nd Games
Bodi Turner - 1st Games
Sam Willoughby - 2nd Games

Matt Bartolo
olympics.com.au

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