Trek: Trek At The Olympics: Part Eleven

2008/08/20

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Write this down…file it in your memory banks. You will need it in about 3 years when you play an updated version of Trivia Pursuit. 

Question: Who was the first ever BMX Olympic bicycle racer?

Answer: Liam Phillips of Great Britain

At 9am in Beijing, China on a sweltering Wednesday morning, the world welcomed a significant change in the Olympic movement. From a grand sporting event that once upon a time only included traditional sports such as volleyball, basketball and running races, we saw a 2008 Olympics welcoming new sports such as long distance swimming and today BMX. So back to Liam Phillips…

Today’s racing started off with a series of qualifying heats that went in a reverse order based on recent international rankings. Based on that formula we saw a rider with a fairly low international ranking given the honor of being the first ever Olympic BMX racer. Very cool! When he went down the start ramp the crowd went crazy. Regardless of whether you are a roadie, track or mountain cyclist, it was hard to be there seeing this happen and not be excited for cycling and the future of the sport. 

The US ultimately did well throughout the time trial qualifying, but in the men’s quarterfinals things went a bit sideways. Donny Robinson, the US rider who won the Olympic Test event on this track a year ago faltered and crashed on the first lap and finished well back. He salvaged his Olympics by finishing 2nd and 3rd place respectively in the remaining heats to advance into the semi-finals, which will be contested tomorrow. Kyle Bennett, 2-time World Champion, did well in his first two heats, but in the first turn of the 3rd quarterfinal heat Raymon Van der Biezen rode down into him and crashed him out. Kyle dislocated his shoulder and had to have it reset on the track. He rode in several minutes later, but had already been marked down as a DNF. Fortunately his earlier placing allows him to advance to the semi finals tomorrow.

Jill Kintner, the sole US women’s entrant, almost had to start without her key supporters there to cheer her on. Due to some confusion about where and how to get tickets, Jill’s mother and two other friends were left outside the BMX stadium without their tickets. Fortunately the wife of one Trek staffer was outside, heard them frantically discussing their predicament and went to find 3 spare tickets. With moments to spare before the start of the day’s racing, Jill’s mother made it up and into the venue. Once racing, Jill finished 8th in her first heat and 5th in her second. She will be seeded in 4th position in tomorrow’s women’s semi final and stands a strong chance to make it into the women’s final. Let’s see what she can do! Other women that must be highlighted and who are also significant medal hopefuls are Anne-Caroline Chausson and Britain’s Shanaze Reade.  Both women have enjoyed cycling greatness, although primarily from other cycling disciplines.  Reade was a former World Champion on the Great Britain track cycling sprint team and Chausson is without a doubt the greatest female gravity athlete, having won 16 world titles. Considering the quality of this year’s Olympic field, we are guaranteed an awesome day of racing tomorrow.

Tomorrow – the finals of men and women’s MTB.  See you then!

>>>Read Part Ten>>>