Games of the 30th Olympiad, London 2012
BMX Day 1 - Buchanan fastest qualifier
London 2012, BMX Track
Australian Caroline Buchanan, qualified fastest in the speed run over the 440m course that determined the ranking for the semi-finals. New Nealands's Sarah Walker, who was 4th in Beijing got off to a slower start than Buchanan and paid for it in the last technical 100m. Mariana Pajon (COL) started very fast but lost time gaining height over the jumps. She qualified third fastest.
Beijing silver medalist Laetitia l Corguille (FRA) was 4th an home favourite Shanaze Reade was 5th almost 1 second behind Buchanan.
Mariana PAJON (COL) on her run and the course, "It's very good. Today is just the first day, but it is a very good course for me. I'm very strong, I was convinced I was going to do well."
"I was very happy with my start. It was a very smooth run. It was very important so that I get a good lane."
"All the courses are different and this one is unique."
On negotiating the jumps on the course, "The idea is to pedal as much as you can (between the jumps)."
Shanaze READE (GBR) - 5th in her seeding run, "It felt good. The first time you go out you're always going to be a bit rusty but it was great to compete in front of the home crowd."
On starting her event: "I've been sitting around watching all the Olympic titles being won in the velodrome. I'm just glad to be out and competing myself."
Sarah WALKER (NZL) after riding to second in her qualification run, "I just focused on getting a smooth lap and a strong start. The time trial is not really one of my fortes. I'm a better racer than I am a time trialist. I just focused on doing what I could and put down a good lap."
On competing against home favourite Shanaze Reade (GBR): "I'm happy because Shanaze went before me and I beat her by a lot, so that's a good start to the week."
On the tunnel feature of the course: "The tunnel is quite bizarre. Going through the tunnel you can't actually see out the other side. It's just a big wall in front of you. It's an easy jump, but there's a lot of mental process that goes into doing it."
On what competing at the Games means to her: "I ride for a lot of kids in Kawerau (in New Zealand) – it's a small town and I hope to inspire them to become something. I want to show that people from a small town can do big things."
On her impressions of the Velopark track: "The track is so smooth and fast, and it looks amazing from a spectator's point of view. It rides well and I am looking forward to racing on Friday. It's hard to say who it favours." Alise Post (USA)
On her seeding ride to eighth, "I think I could have been more aggressive out there today. Coming out here today, it's a little less pressure-filled because normally we have to get out of the first time trial to qualify and there are usually more girls. Having that pressure off and knowing it's just for seeding helped me relax and get a feel for the track and ease into the race on Friday. I really wanted to be top eight, and I made that, so I am happy with that."
On the Velopark: "The vibe here, there are obviously a lot of people, it's pretty cool. At the same time, I am in my zone, as much as I can be, because you want to keep it as normal as possible and try to soak up the energy when you're done."
On building a replica of the track to train on in California: "We race BMX, and BMX is made out of dirt, so it's never going to be an exact replica no matter what you do. We didn't have a tunnel in the US. The main thing is that it's dirt, and you cannot replicate that no matter what you do. Every track you go to presents new challenges. Thankfully, the track we had in Chula Vista (California) was even more aggressive, so that helps us here. It's a different challenge here dealing with the vibe and keeping calm."
On her thoughts on the track: "It's a reasonably simple track. Most girls can ride it pretty clean and well, so it will be a fair race for every body. I like that we have some room to pedal after the tunnel. I've been known to be quicker out of the start gate, so that helps me, but all in all, it's going to be a fair race for everybody, so it will be whoever has their head on straight."
On crash involving Brooke Crain (USA) in her seeding run on the final straightaway: "I've had my fair share of those crashes and things happen as well and it's just part of what happens in any sport you go to there is injuries, things happen, and part of what we do is taking spills here and there and thankfully I think she is going to be all right with that one. Before we left we had a huge crash happen and we had to leave that and we've come over here with screwing our heads straight. I think that's part of the game being able to reset and we focus and worry about your own race at the end of the day it's an individual thing and what someone else does can’t hinder you."
On popularity of BMX in USA: "I think we are a smaller fish in the big sea actually in the United States and I’d like to get more people to know about it."
On BMX at the Olympics: "I think this is a just a generation that is moving forward and that you have to have an open mind. Obviously there are the staple sports that are awesome in their own way, of course, and I appreciate those, but you have to have an open mind. Things change and inspire a generation and move with the era."
Laetitia LE CORGUILLE (FRA) on her qualifying ride to fourth place, "It went OK. I made a few small mistakes, not enough attacking on the first straight on the bumps, then too much on the second. It is the first quick lap so it is normal that there are a few mistakes. I'll sort those out before Friday (the semifinal) and then it should be good. I did good trial (runs) today compared to previous days so I feel more confident. I'm feeling better and better but it is important to do a quick lap like this before the real competition."
On the track: "It is really great. I get pleasure from riding it. There is not a bump or an imperfection. It's great, I can't wait to ride it on Friday."
On whether Thursday without competition is a problem: "No, quite the opposite, it means a day of rest tomorrow, it'll be a relaxing day. I think it is best for me to ride relaxed so that I can do best on Friday."
On Shanaze Reade's time which placed her fifth, "She was behind me, right? We'll see I guess, she was very good in the first straight but she doesn't finish well. We'll have to see on Friday. She is definitely my competition."
Magalie POTTIER (FRA) on the track: "In riding terms, it is great. There's a lot of speed, lots of jumps, which is what I like, so it is a track that suits me well."
On her qualification ride: "I did well. I made some mistakes but I will make up for it on the day of the race. It's the race that you need to win. It (a good qualifying ride) is always good for confidence but I know that I am capable of doing much better on the day of the race."
On where she made mistakes in her qualifying ride: "It went quite quickly but I got caught on some of the bumps so I lost speed. Also towards the end I didn't get through it that well but I know I can do much better. It's good to make mistakes because you can correct them in time. That's probably what I need."
Romana LABOUNKOVA (CZE) - was 11th on the track: "It's the most beautiful track I've ever seen. It looks spectacular, it's amazing to ride on it, to be part of this event."
On what area of the track is the most vital: "I think the most important (part) is the first straight as always because the position in the first corner is the most important. If you're first there you have a good chance to be first at the finish if you don't make any mistakes."
On the tunnel that comprises part of the women's track: "The first time (I rode it) I was really scared because when you enter it you just see the grass wall against you and no landing. At the last second you see where you are have to jump, but finally it is very easy because you are going very fast (just) before it so it is easy to jump it."
Laura SMULDERS (NED) - 6th, on the course: "It sure is a nice circuit, it's built fantastically, it looks great and it feels great on the bike. This course suits me very well because it is technical."
On difficult sections in the course, "The second part with the tunnel is difficult and the third part is very technical, in that part you have to be very careful."
On the tunnel, "I like the idea, it's new and original. This is the only course in the world with a tunnel. It's not completely new to me because we rode here during last year's test event."
On her performance, "I'm satisfied although I made a small mistake. Just before I entered the first corner I got a bit awkward off the jump, but the rest of the track went very well, so maybe I made up for my mistake during the remainder of my ride."
Sandra ALEKSEJEVA (LAT) - 13th, on being the first girl to go down the ramp at the London 2012 Olympics: "That was good. I like being the first."
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