Excitement builds but Reade tries to keep her cool
Great Britain's Shanaze Reade is determined to enjoy the unique experience of competing at a home Olympics this summer.
BMX rider Reade, whose hopes of winning a medal at the 2008 Beijing Games ended when she crashed in the final, is heading to London 2012 as a firm believer in trying to treat Olympic races like any other.
That does not, however, mean she will be attempting to entirely shut out the magnitude of the occasion when her competition gets under way on August 8.
“I still want to treat it like the Olympics, but when I went to Beijing I treated it as if it was something massive, like this do-or-die kind of thing,” said Reade.
“I want to get that balance right where I really appreciate that I am at an Olympic Games, but at the same time treat it like a normal race.
“If you add that element of being at a home Olympics, it gives that extra excitement to the race and I want to really enjoy the event.”
Something else the 23-year-old expects to provide her with a buzz in London will be watching her fellow cyclists in action before her.
With her own event being relatively late in the schedule, Reade hopes success for her Team GB colleagues on the track and road in the days building up to the BMX competition will help inspire her in her own performance — and having suffered some injury setbacks of late, is also glad to have the extra preparation time.
“I need that time just because of where I was prior to the World Championships (held in Birmingham in May) — I had a massive crash and ended up in hospital,” said Reade.
“I had concussion, so I missed a week-and-a-half to two weeks' prep leading into the Worlds and then I also crashed there and had a few cuts and scrapes, so I've needed this period.
“I couldn't ask for anything more and I'm at the top of where I need to be now.
“I also think it (the gap between the start of the Olympics and the BMX competition) is a good thing because you get spurred on. I train with all these guys like Sir Chris Hoy and you are going to see how successful they have been and just feed off that.”
Reade's team-mate for London, Liam Phillips, has also overcome injury in the last few weeks, working his way to fitness after suffering a broken collarbone at the World Championships.
His recovery has impressed British Cycling's Olympic BMX coach Grant White, who is confident both Reade and Phillips are on course to perform well.
Referring to Phillips, White said: “We are pretty amazed really that he is in the position that he is in now, considering he broke his collarbone and fractured his scapula.
“Physically I think he is (at 100 per cent) and technically it is almost there — he has only been on the bike for two weeks now I think.
“He is in a fantastic position now.”