Published: 8 August 2012
Report: Eddie Allen
Images: Luke Webber
“I train to be the best I can be. If the opportunity presents itself to go for gold, if I am in second or whatever position, I will go for that."
Shanaze Reade speaking to the Press Association just one day ahead the BMX competition, which will see her and her teammate Liam Phillips go for glory on the incredible London supercross track.
Reade has been inspired by the efforts of the entire Team GB squad throughout the Olympics, which reached its zenith on Tuesday night in the velodrome, with Sir Chris Hoy winning gold in the Keirin and becoming Great Britain’s most successful Olympic athlete, Victoria Pendleton bowing out of competition in dramatic style, winning silver in the final against Anna Meares and finally twenty-year old Laura Trott, carrying the flag for a new generation of Great Britain cyclists, winning her second gold of the Games in the women’s Omnium.
“I have kept my eye on everything that has been going on. Jess Ennis went in with the pressure on her to win. When you can overcome all the obstacles that are put in your way- that is inspiring.”
A triple world champion in BMX and one of the sports most talented athletes, Reade has carefully managed her psychological build-up to London 2012 following bitter disappointment in Beijing, when an all-or-nothing manoeuvre in the final resulted in a painful and heartbreaking exit, with Olympic glory just metres away.
"After the last Olympic Games I had a love-hate kind of feel towards the Olympics," revealed Reade added. "When I got back I assessed what went wrong, why it went wrong and what I needed to do to be a better athlete.
"We created Team Reade, a hub of people who I trusted and who could be honest with me. They told me some home truths and I vented as well.
"We got together and formed a plan to be better and move forward.
Today’s action will see a time-trial to determine seedings ahead of Friday’s knockout rounds; Reade’s main rivals likely to be world champion Magalie Pottier of France and time-trial world champion Caroline Buchanan of Australia.
Today also sees the opening salvoes of the men’s competition, with Great Britain’s Liam Phillips reportedly fighting fit after his collar bone fracture at the BMX World Championships, staged in Birmingham in May.
“It's a miraculous recovery,” said 23-year-old Phillips, whose participation in the London Games was thrown into doubt following the heavy crash.
“I'm in arguably better shape than I was for the worlds, which I didn't think was possible,” continued Phillips, “What's really surprised me is the fact I've come out of the other end with even more than I had at the worlds.”
Having faced the possibility of shattered Olympic dreams head-on only to have come back stronger and in miraculous time, Phillips is understandably oozing with positivity and approaches the competition without ghosts or the heavy burden of expectation:
"I'm positive and I'm looking forward to racing. I want to go out there and be a part of it.
"My only goal and objective is to put in my best. I know I've put in the work and I'm a good enough bike rider to be able to win or come out with a medal."
Phillips begins his campaign today in the seeding rounds, which will determine the gridding for Thursday’s quarter finals. Phillips’ main rivals are likely to be defending Olympic champion Maris Strombergs of Latvia, world champion Sam Willoughby of Australia and the United States' Connor Fields.