British Cycling Academy Programme rider Tre Whyte was among a number of aspiring athletes who greeted the Olympic Torch at Buckingham Palace yesterday, meeting the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in front of huge crowds.
British Cycling’s great and good have been involved with the relay throughout its epic journey around the UK, with Sir Chris Hoy, Shanaze Reade, Geoff Cooke, Brian Cookson OBE and Eileen Gray all carrying the flame.
Tre, from Peckham, South London, is one 185 British Olympic Association ‘Ambition Programme’ athletes, a group of talented up and coming athletes from across all Olympic sports, with the potential to represent Great Britain at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia and the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
The Lloyds TSB sponsored Ambition Programme endeavours to inspire young athletes and coaches, and provide a performance legacy for Team GB from the London 2012 Olympic Games. Whyte, who is currently ranked second in the British BMX rankings, has been given the opportunity to savour the Olympic athlete experience first-hand, visiting Team GB’s Preparation Camp at Loughborough University, before travelling to London to greet the torch, visit the Olympic Village, watch two Olympic competition sessions and experience the atmosphere at Team GB House in Westfield Stratford City.
Speaking shortly after meeting the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and greeting the torch at Buckingham Palace, Tre said: “We all got led out in front of Buckingham Palace to greet the torch - it was amazing, there were so many people, the atmosphere was great, everyone was cheering and clapping.
“It was great to meet the Royal family and just be part of it all.”
However, the world doesn’t stand still for Tre who, after his royal encounter, is straight back into competition: “I’ve got a National that I’ll be heading off to today, then hopefully I’ll be selected to race the Supercross World Cup in Canada and if not I’ll be at the British Champs.”
Looking ahead to the BMX competition at London 2012, which begins on 8 August with the Men’s and Women’s Seeding, we asked Tre to rate Shanaze Reade and Liam Phillips’ chances: “I think they’ve got a really good chance – I think Shanaze without a doubt has a chance to win and if Liam puts it together he can win as well – definitely he can podium.
“Liam got a silver at the Worlds so we know he’s quick enough to do it as well. It’ll be hard but they can both do it.”