Going to the Olympics is the most crazy, exciting and strange feeling. To me, winning Olympic Gold for my country is the pinnacle of my sport so to be able to say that I have made the first step; making the team, is so incredible. It means that all the training that I have put in, day after day and all the sacrifices I (and my family and friends) have made have been completely worth it.
When I woke up to the words “You are now officially an Olympian”, a wave of excitement came across me. It sent shivers down my body and I felt slightly out-of-breath. I can honestly say I have never felt so proud in my entire life.
I am looking forward to getting out on the track and delivering the best performance I have ever given in front of my teammates, coaches, friends, family and country. This opportunity doesn’t come around very often, so I am going to make the absolute most out of it!
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It was the keen eye of ACT Academy of Sport paracycling coach Sian Mulholland that led Susan Powell on her path to Australia's first gold medal of the 2012 Paralympic Games in London.
Australia's cycling success continued on day two of the Paralympics with a gold medal in the women's time trial.
Canberran Susan Powell has opened Australia's gold medal account at the London Paralympic Games in front of the enthusiastic British crowd with a thumping win in the C4 individual pursuit final.
Former Tara Anglican Girls School student Simone Kennedy added to the Australian medal count of nine at the London Paralympics overnight with a silver medal in the women’s C1-2-3 individual pursuit.
When first started riding at the age of 17 I had come to the end of a reasonably successful running career and I was a little despondent as to whether or not I would achieve my dream of representing Australia.
When I was 12 my father took me to watch some of the Athletics at the Sydney 2000 games and it was certainly a clear moment of my life where I decided I wanted to be involved in sport in sue capacity in my life, but I don't think I ever thought it would really be as an athlete at the Games.
When I got about a year into my cycling career I realised that I had the talent to be able to go to the Olympics and whilst I missed out in Beijing just being at the top level of my sport and representing Australia was motivation enough. When I was officially announced in the team I was over the moon. For me I knew it was going to happen for about two years or so before the announcement as I was improving a lot and won a few World Titles and so it was my families response that really overwhelmed me because I was in some way expecting it. It means so much to the close people around me and I feel really honoured and proud to be able to go to my first Olympics and ride for those who I know means as much to them as it does to me.
How did you feel when you made the team? Honestly at first whilst I was expecting it I was really quite humbled. We had a team meeting in which our coach explaied to us that we had made the team and he sat us down and he said to us that no one ever will be able to take this away from us, that we are now apart of a special group of people and we will forever be an Olympian. That was really special because I had never thought of it in that way and I feel really privileged to have been given the opportunity to do something so special.
What are you looking forward to most about London? Other than my actual event I am looking forward to celebrating everything that is the Olympic experience. We have had many team meetings in the past few weeks where we have had special guests come and talk to us about what we can expect to expect and its really a surreal thing right now. The loads of kit we get, the monstrous dining hall, the famous sportspeople, the spotlight and sharing the experience with people who are all the best at what they do. I am told its something that you can't put into words really and that you just have to wait and experience it yourself! I am looking forward to it with great anticipation.
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There are ten Olympic cycling events – five for men, five for women – in the Sprint, Team Sprint, Keirin, Team Pursuit and the Omnium.
Sprint: A one on one battle that’s all about speed and tactics. Riders compete to be the best over three racers per round.
Team Sprint: Two-man female teams sprint over two laps in this event.
Keirin: An eight lap race where the riders are paced by a small moped called a derny. As the derny increases speed riders jostle for the best position behind it. With two laps to go the derny moves off the track and the sprinters race for the finish.
Team pursuit: An endurance event lasting 3km, with teams of three (for women) starting on opposite sides of the velodrome, and the aim is to catch the other team.
Riders take in turn to lead their team for around half a lap before moving to the back of the team to let a rider with fresh legs take the lead.
Omnium: Brand new to the Olympics and described as the decathlon of the velodrome. Six events are contested over two days meaning you need to be a strong all round cyclist to compete in this event:
250m Flying lap
20km Points race – points awarded for lapping the field and periodic sprint sections
3km Individual pursuit – like the team pursuit described above but with individual riders
10km Scratch race – like the points race but without the sprint sections
500m time trial
Elimination race – the 24 riders race as a bunch and every two laps the last rider over the line will be eliminated.