BMX: Team GB's Shanaze Reade keen to emulate roommate Victoria Pendleton
Sunday 05 August 2012
Shanaze Reade feels she would not have been a “true Olympic champion” if she had won gold in 2008 - but the British BMX star is ready for glory at London 2012.
The 23-year-old is aiming to continue Britain's stunning cycling success by completing a career set of world, European and Olympic title this week.
Reade still harbours the win-at-all-costs mentality that ultimately cost her a medal in Beijing, when she attempted a bold overtaking manoeuvre on the last corner and crashed out.
Four years on, Reade reflects on that defeat as the best thing that could have happened to her as she prepares to emulate Victoria Pendleton, her room-mate in the athletes' village.
"I have won the worlds, I have won the Europeans but I have not won the Olympic Games," Reade said.
"That is what keeps the fire burning all the time.
"It was the best thing that happened to me in Beijing to not win that Olympics because it gave me the rules of how to be an Olympic champion.
"If I had won I wouldn't have been a true Olympic champion because I didn't have all the ingredients it took to be the champion.
"I thought I was mature enough when I was there - but I stepped away and thought 'you have a lot of growing up to do'.
"I have matured a lot more. I have experienced a lot more and I am ready now. I am ready to take on the challenge of being an Olympic champion."
More mature she may be, but that has not dulled Reade's competitive drive and she will not hesitate to risk all for gold once again.
"It comes with your personality. I train to be the best I can be," she said.
"I'd be lying if I said I didn't want to go for a gold medal.
"I don't do tricks, I just go fast.
"Since the last Olympic Games, for four years solid, I have worked so hard to achieve my goals.
"If the opportunity presents itself to go for gold, if I am in second or whatever position, I will go for that."
As part of a dominant British cycling team, Reade felt the pressure to deliver a gold medal in Beijing - now she is just inspired by the likes of Pendleton, Bradley Wiggins and Chris Hoy.
"I am mindful of the fact that everyone has been so successful," she said.
"I am sharing with Victoria Pendleton who is doing amazing out there. It makes it real.
"If another British athlete is winning - like Greg (Rutherford), Mo (Farah) and Jess (Ennis) last night - then why can't you?
"I asked Victoria how it is out there and she described it as phenomenal. I am just excited to experience the crowd' and the event."
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