With now well under six months until the Olympics getting under way, excitement is starting to build. Shortly after the National Track Championships the New Zealand Olympic Committee (NZOC) held a ‘London Workshop’ for the entire squad of track cycling athletes who are in the current long-listed team. The workshop was based on New Zealand’s Olympic history and the “When were you most proud to be a New Zealander” campaign whilst also covering NZOC team culture, Olympic solidarity and some information about the venues and the London village.
After the workshop, we headed into a ‘data gathering’ session, which consisted of updating personal details, official photographs for accreditation and sizing of uniform. This is was a huge buzz as it is a marker of being a step closer to being on the start line where the big medals are up for grabs.
It was great to be involved in the NZOC’s first of the ‘London workshops’ as it linked back to the unity of New Zealand sports teams on the international stage. Donning a black skin suit with the fern is a great honour, but with the encompassment of all the Olympics sports baring the same uniform is what dreams are made of.
In what were perfectly planned circumstances; right after our workshop we headed to London for the final World Cup of the season. This World Cup also served as a test event for the Olympic velodrome. This event was planned to check the facilities practicality and familiarise ourselves with the venue prior to the Games. It was great a great opportunity to see the proximity of velodrome to the village, the main stadium and also the Westfield mall (which will serve as the meeting point for athletes and their families). It was a moving experience to be one of the first groups of athletes to have the pleasure of experiencing the Olympic park first hand.
The track is an amazing venue, with a great feel. The track has an almost ridiculous amount of seating, which makes for a large venue. With all these extra seats, they need more room. The architects were left to go crazy and have designed a truly impressive building. The building looks like a velodrome from the roofs shape… It is also the best looking venue in the Olympic Park (no biased).
For now, we have to ignore the surrounding and not think about the significance of the venue. At the end of the day, it is just another track. It is now time to get our final preparations under way and get ourselves into the best condition we can for race day. The World Cup here isn’t the pinnacle of this phase, with the World Championships in April being our targeted event.
We have just returned from the qualifying of the Team Sprint. The team of Ethan Mitchell, Sam Webster and Eddie Dawkins posted a New Zealand best time to cover the 750m distance in 44.002sec. The ride qualified the team in fifth place was one that was sound and one that is of an international quality. Slimly missing out on a medal ride (and coming so close to dipping under 44 seconds) are signs that our preparations to the World Championships are looking up. The team is due to compete is three further events over the course of the World Cup, with Simon Van Velthooven riding the Kilometer Time Trial and Keirin, while Eddie Dawkins and Sam Webster will be lining up for the Sprint competition come Sunday UK time.