I’m writing this on our rest day in the Olympic Village. With one more race day to go. What a games its been so far!
Our first event was the Team Sprint where winning Gold was the biggest achievement of my career. It was special for so many reasons.
Chiefly because of the amount of work I've put into this one event. For the past two to three years its been my primary focus. Changing my mind set to just focus on this event was hard. I'd previously found most success in other events like the Sprint and Kilo. Having the conviction to continue with this sole focus was also a struggle at times. Its fair to say over the last few years I have been dropped at around half of the events we entered. Every time it didn't get any easier to deal with the disappointment. I was so frustrated with myself. I felt as if I were letting the team down again and again. Sometimes it was clear that we had the best Man 1 and the best Man 2 in the world and often we lost time due to my lack of pace. It was hard but after every set back I had to dust myself down and try and improve for next time. It was made easier by the fantastic team I'm surrounded by. Jason and Phil were very supportive over the last few years through wins and the losses. We all believed if we could have a clean ride we could be world beaters. Its also great to have athletes such as Phil and Jason to chase in training, they set the pace, I had to match it. Thats what made the night we won the team sprint so special. Personally, I got on, did a great lap, three times in a row. And as a team we've never known such pace or consistency.
It was also special due to the means we achieved this win, with the help of the support staff and coaches. We had to get creative with my gym and on the bike training. For example I don't train like a traditional sprinter in the gym, I don't do Squats due to injury issues with my back. For a Sprinter trying to improve my start this can be a real puzzle to overcome. I’m so grateful for the physical condition the coaches and support staff helped me achieve. I truly believe we have some of the most talented coaches, physiologists, physiotherapists, bio mechanists, performance analysts and nutritionists in the world. Its not only a team sprint in terms of the three guys on the track, there is a talented team back in Manchester who make it possible.
Finally I’ll always remember the way we won that gold medal. In the first ride we broke the Olympic Record and qualified first, a fantastic start. In the semi final we went a little slower and New Zealand went a little quicker beating the Olympic Record we had just set! In the final we knew we had to leave it all on the track. New Zealand on the home straight, seeded first, us on the back straight seeded second. We won by a whisker, one tenth of a second and improved our time to once again break the Olympic Record for the second time in the evening. Also to have won against a team as strong and consistent as the Kiwis was immense.
To be olympic champions, having broken the olympic record twice and to have beaten the current world campions. To my mind there in no better way to win.