Olympic cyclists in 1908, 1948, and 2012
What/Where/When: Cycling, Hampstead Court Palace & Box Hill, July 28-August 1
It isn’t enough that the 2012 cycling venues in London are worthy of a gold medal. In addition to a historic palace, a giant modern velodrome, and a breathtaking scenic road race course, Great Britain is also hoping to win big in Olympic cycling. It comes into these 2012 Olympics with possibly the strongest cycling team of any other nation.
Men’s track cycling was a part of the Olympics both in 1908 and 1948 at the legendary Herne Hill velodrome. Men’s road race cycling took place in Windsor Park over mostly unpaved roads and rainy weather. Women’s cycling wasn’t added until the 1980′s and 1990′s. Road cycling in London will include a time trial race and road race for both men and women. Track cycling will include 12 events for men and women collectively.
I consulted with my husband, an avid cycling fan, to give me his thoughts. Here’s what he had to say:
- Track cyclist Chris Hoy rides into these games as Great Britain’s greatest cyclist ever. At the 2008 Olympics he was the first British athlete to win three gold medals since Henry Taylor did so 100 years earlier in 1908. He also picked up a gold at the 2004 Olympics and a silver at the 2000 Games. It’s no wonder that he was selected by his teammates to carry the country’s flag in the opening ceremony. He’s a vocal supporter of anti-doping and thus far, he’s clean in a sport plagued with doping scandals.
- One might have heard Bradley Wiggins’ name in the news recently. It was just a small mention….You know, he was only the first Briton to ever win the Tour de France! Wiggins will be competing in London just a couple of weeks following his historic win of the Tour De France. The funny and affable Wiggins is well-respected by his peers, including Hoy, who said Wiggins’ win was “as good as anything any British athlete has ever done.”
- Another Briton ready to win is Chris Froome, who had a good Tour de France.
- Don’t tell Mark Cavendish this, though. Cavendish, a brash and talented sprinter, may not be very likeable, but the cocky cyclist is most likely still miffed that Wiggins stole the spotlight from him in his Tour de France win. He wants that 2012 Olympic gold badly, and preferably a win in both road race and time trials.
- Cavendish could possibly find himself fighting with two Germans in the time trials: Andre Greipel and Tony Martin. They’re both very strong sprinters.
When I asked him for his predictions of gold, silver, and bronze, he was hesitant to say. “It’s up for grabs. If you want to know who will win, you’ll have to watch. It’s too close to call!”
As for women’s cycling, my husband had no thoughts on the matter, so I did some research myself. Although Nicole Cooke and Lizzie Armitstead seem to have patched things up, I’m pulling for Nicole Cooke in the road race and alsoKristin Armstrong of USA for the time trials. It would be nice for another American named Armstrong (who isn’t continually under a cloud of suspicion for doping) to win something big.
Faster, Higher, Stronger.
Published with permission from The Olympic Fanatic.