Abbie Taylor, Team GB's up-and-coming BMX rider, on her road to Rio 2016
Abbie Taylor was only in her teens when she was chosen to be the BMX reserve rider for team GB at the London 2012 Olympics. She didn't get the chance to compete, but being a part of the incredible event has made her even more determined to make her mark on the Rio Games in 2016.
‘It was a shock to be chosen for the London Olympics because I'm only 19, I didn’t really expect it at all.
'Shanaze Reade, [BMX world champion cyclist] is faster on the track than me so I wanted her to race,' she says. 'You always want the best person to go out there and win. But I loved the experience and it's made me even more determined to make it to Rio.’
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Abbie always has the Olympics in the back of her mind but she says, ‘I’m focusing more on the near future, I think that will help me get better for 2016 in the long run. It’s the little things I have to do on the way to make sure I'm ready.
'All of the team will train for the Olympics and we're all hoping to be there, but not all of us can go. As I am one of only two girls on the team at the moment we hope we can both go.’
Abbie has been dedicated to the sport for most of her life.
‘I first sat on a BMX when I was six,' she says. 'My dad used to race and took me to the local track. I haven’t stopped since! BMX has always been a big part of mine and my family’s lives – first I liked it, then my sister started and my brother.
'I love racing, with seven other people on the track around you and the adrenaline you feel. And obviously the winning – if I win that makes it even better.’
Despite being a rider since childhood, Abbie still gets nerves when standing at the top of a track, but she doesn’t let the fear of injuries jeopardise her chances of competing and winning.
‘I get a bit nervous because obviously you want to do well and you're unsure if you're going to beat everyone, so the nerves are normal for everyone,' she explains.
'I don’t really think about injuries. Other people may think it’s really scary seeing people get hurt, but I think for most riders you just see how they come back and carry on, and we haven’t seen anyone die. I guess the time you spend injured you're just wanting to get back on your bike.’
Being a BMX rider is a full-time job for Abbie and her team mates training for the Olympics.
‘We train six days a week, normally for around three hours each day,' she says. 'Sometimes we're on the track doing sprints or we go to the gym to train.’
But Abbie doesn’t let the training take over her life.
‘I still have time to do other things once I've finished training, I go home a lot to see my family. It’s nice to go home and see friends and other people, because if the team spent the whole time together we would just talk about racing and bikes the whole time, so it's nice to get away from that.’
With Abbie being only one of two females in the GB team it is still a male-dominated sport, but she says it's easy for anyone to get involved
'You can come in at any level or age, as long as you can pick it up quickly and you enjoy it, it doesn’t really matter how good you are to start with.’
Shanaze Reade and Abbie Taylor will be racing in the UCI BMX Supercross World Cup Manchester 19-20 April 2013.
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