Australia has secured the 2032 Olympics ! What does this mean for the whole Australian cycling community?
Back in September 2019 I had just heard that Brisbane (my hometown), had put in a bid to host the 2032 Olympic Games and I wrote the scariest blog post yet where I openly declared “…By 2032 Olympic Games, I want to be able to say that Australia is ranked 1st in the world for XCO Mountain biking in both Men and Women’s.” You can read that blog post here and the importance of a country ranking to maximize the number of starting positions at an Olympic Games. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to see Australia have 3 men and 2 women racing at home in the 2032 Brisbane Olympics! https://pcscoaching.com.au/2019/09/11/my-loftiest-goal-ever-can-australia-be-number-1-in-xco-by-2032-olympic-games/
It’s official!!!! Brisbane to host 2032 Olympic Games!!!
You’ve probably just heard the news and I can’t tell you how excited I am…for so many reasons!!!!
Australians will have a Hometown Advantage
I started coaching Cameron Wright in 2013 and it was clear at the age of 13 he was talented and even at that age, had some big goals he wanted to achieve. Cam had his eyes clearly on the 2017 World Championships from the beginning and as the race came closer we were so lucky to be able to travel to Cairns on a number of occasions to practice the World Championship course. This “semi” hometown advantage (Brisbane to Cairns is a 2 hour flight) definitely worked because Cam led that race from start to finish!
Homegrown Talent in Brisbane and around Australia
There is definitely a tonne of homegrown talent right here in Australia! Lisa Mathison born and raised in Brisbane was my first ever PCS athlete that I coached. I started coaching Lisa back in 2001 and from there we grew to be a great team where Lisa went onto win 2 Junior World XCO MTB Championships. Her first World Championship win was in 2002 in Kaprun, Austria and then she backed up this amazing feat by winning again 2003 in Lugano, Switzerland. In 2004 Lisa represented Australia at the Athens Olympic Games and came an incredible 10th place at just 19 years of age!
There is so much talent in Australia right now with the likes of Olympians and Elite XCO MTB National Champions Dan and Bec McConnell, U/23 XCO National Champions Sam Fox & Zoe Cuthbert, U/19 XCO National Champions Joel Dodds and Hayley Oakes (pictured below).
Kids now, Stars of the Future
Born 2013 or earlier would see athletes 19 years or older be eligible to compete at the 2032 Brisbane Olympic Games, so if you have children who love mountain biking or would like to give it a try there are so many ways to get them involved! There are a lot of grassroots development activities happening all around Australia at the moment getting our kids on Mountain Bikes and here are just a few examples;
RockyTrail Academy – The Rocky Trail Academy is all about fostering the grass-roots development of the cycling sport. These events are part of our junior rider development program. Geared towards secondary school students these events are held on a Friday and not only engage youth in healthy social and active recreation but brings a heightened appreciation of nature, the environment, self-reliance , self-learning and independence, all as part of riding a bike in the outdoors. By extension, this program also engages and educates teachers and parents. It is all about encouraging students of all abilities to come and race with their mates in a safe and social environment. Students will have the opportunity to test their riding ability across three skill areas on some of the most popular mountain bike trails across QLD, NSW, ACT and in VIC – Endurance, Speed and Technical Skills.
Coot-tha Kids Established in 2015 Coot-tha Mountain Bike Club is based at Gap Creek Reserve and provides mountain biking lessons to Kids and Juniors.
Ride Technics have school holiday programs in Brisbane and Canberra and the list really does go on!
There are a host of club level racing and skills development sessions happening all around the country. The full list of clubs can be found at AusCycling.
After the kids are well and truly hooked on the sport and have established goals and aspirations, some young riders will look for structured training and guidance to improve their MTB racing. This is where I help with coaching and mentoring!
Australia can be #1
Now back to my original blog post. To achieve an outstanding outcome at the 2032 Brisbane Olympics, we need vision, a good strategy, resources and execution!!!
Some may say there are barriers for Australians reaching the pinnacle of XCO which is currently dominated by the European nations. Some of these might include;
• Access to international bases in Europe and USA/Canada
• Time away from home and loved ones
• Talent ID efforts due to the exposure of the sport in Australia
• More Aussie riders needing to be contracted to international based racing teams
THESE AREN’T BARRIERS, THESE ARE OPPORTUNITIES! All of them can be overcome as demonstrated by our current Olympians! If we all band together; if we all have this same unified goal, then who knows what we can achieve or what is possible? We must try at least! One thing I do know, is that it needs an army of people from assisting grassroots junior development through to the creation of elite high performance programs. Now with the merging of disciplines into AusCycling and the announcement of a home games in Australia, I am positive there will be a flurry of activity and I cannot wait for the future!
Let’s get after it!
High Performance Mountain Bike Coach
My speciality is helping serious and recreational mountain bikers break through plateaus to attain higher levels of performance so that they can get fitter, faster, stronger and win more races!