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Page last updated at 23:37 GMT, Thursday, 21 August 2008 00:37 UK

Brits to watch: Shanaze Reade


Reade shows BBC Sport round her BMX bike

By Mark Ashenden

Put Shanaze Reade on a BMX, put her on a track bike, put her on a tricycle, and there will probably be only one outcome.

This 19-year-old started out in athletics but, after falling in love with BMX aged 10 on the streets of Crewe, she has gone on to win five British championships (she was British senior women's champion at 13), eight European and four World titles (two junior, two senior).

Olympic track champion Chris Hoy said before the Olympics: "If I was going to put my mortgage on anyone winning the gold, it would be Shanaze."

She goes for gold in the final, which is scheduled to take place on Friday after rain delayed the action by 24 hours .


Born: 23 September 1988

Trains: Platts Field Park, Manchester

Career highlights: BMX world champion (07, 08), world track gold (08)


2008 form: Reade is flying. In March, she successfully defended her world track sprint crown with Victoria Pendleton in Manchester, and in May she became BMX world champion again in Taiyuan, China.

Inside the mind of Shanaze Reade

Rivals: Having won the BMX worlds by a distance, her rivals have some catching up to do. Kiwi Sarah Walker and France's Ann-Caroline Chausson are the pick of the bunch.

How she could win: Looking at her form, confidence and support team, only injury, complacency or a stick in her spokes seem to be the only things that could prevent her from becoming Olympic champion. Maybe nerves could get to the 19-year-old? Everything suggests she'll be just fine.

What she says: "Before I started that race (the worlds), I laughed and said to myself 'this is mine' and became like a robot. I hate losing and am addicted to winning, I can't just see myself being second - I have got to win."

What you say: "If you're going to include a female cyclist, I would give Reade the edge over Pendleton. I have seen videos of her at the BMX World Championships where she puts in some dominant victories."

Shanaze Reade in action on the track
Shanaze has also been impressing the world in the velodrome
Sporting highs: Where do you start? In 2006, becoming British number one in the elite men's category, world BMX champion in 2007 making her seniors debut, winning world sprint track after only a few months of training. Or perhaps it's just riding her BMX around the streets of hometown Crewe.

Sporting low: Injuries are a problem in any sport, particularly when it involves flying round dirt tracks or velodromes on two wheels. Reade has endured broken metatarsals, wrists, elbows and fingers.

A fractured knee two weeks before the 2005 track World Championships was a bad one. She raced with her knee strapped up, she was on pain killers, and crashed in the quarter-finals.

In action in the finals: Thursday 21 August, 0400 BST
All the Olympic BMX races take place at the bowl-shaped Laoshan venue, located at Shijingshan District in West Beijing. The seeding runs starts Wednesday 20 August, 0305 BST


Life before sport: Not only has this girl always ridden bikes, she has beaten just about everybody who has come her way - including the men. She used to describe herself as a "badass chick who kicks guys".

Shanaze Reade during BMX training
Shanaze catches up with team-mates during BMX training

It could have been all so different. When deciding her GCSEs, she got a phone call. She said: "My coach rang to say BMX had been introduced to the Olympics. That was it. I'd wanted to be an English teacher but you can go back to college, you can't go back to being an Olympic gold medallist."

Hero worship: She claims she didn't have any heroes growing up, but has started to look up to Kelly Holmes. She also admires Jamie Staff who came over to track cycling from BMX for the last Olympics and says he "inspired me to make the crossover between the two sports".

Most likely to: Slip into a dress away from the cycling tracks. Reade says she loves to dress up "as every girl does". "BMX sucks at times as it's not the most feminine of sports is it? That's why I love to be queen of the after-party!"

Least likely to: Be taking it easy. She says: "You only get one shot at being the Olympic champion and I am just grabbing it with both hands. I don't ever want to look back and wonder, 'Why didn't I do that?' I don't ever want to be a failure. I never want to think I lost the Olympics because I didn't work hard enough or did something stupid."

Others on Shanaze: Sprint partner Victoria Pendleton says "she is blessed" and GB cycling performance director Dave Brailsford says "she is a winner and will go all the way and likes to be around winners".

Shanaze's former mentor Bob Field died recently of cancer. At the funeral the family played the video diary Bob made over his last year. It said: "Shanaze, I want you to win the Olympics for me. I'll be watching."

Shanaze Reade

see also
Olympic profile: Shanaze Reade
08 Jul 08 |  Olympics
Olympic Dreams - Shanaze Reade
11 Jul 08 |  London 2012
Reade cruises to BMX world title
31 May 08 |  Cycling
Olympic Dreams - On shoot with Shanaze
30 May 08 |  London 2012
Reade targets golden year
11 Jan 08 |  Cycling

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