I have just completed the 2011 Track World Championships and London is now firmly on the radar. There are only 5 races left (4 World Cups, 1 World Championship) until the big one; London Olympics 2012.
The Teams Pursuit had a solid start to our Olympic qualifying quest that runs from October 2010 – April 2012. We finished the season as World Cup leaders and went on to take bronze at the March World Championships in Holland. This leaves us sitting at the top of the Olympic qualification table as the first of two qualifying seasons comes to an end. We were proud to stand on the World Championship podium with our Bronze and see the New Zealand flag being raised, but deep down we know we can produce more. Our performance was solid, but not perfect and its perfection that is required to stand on that top step. That is our quest - The perfect performance, with the ultimate reward of hearing the New Zealand anthem bellowed out across the velodrome. That will be a proud moment.
So unlike Delhi where we were unsure if things would be completed in time, the London Velodrome has been officially opened by its own British Team. Some of the Bike NZ staff stopped off in London on the way home from World Champs to get a privileged tour through the new complex.
Seeing the photos immediately forces emotions to surface, I feel a little tingle deep deep down in my tummy. It’s the power of the Olympics. When I look at the photo of the finishing straight and can imagine myself pedalling my stealth black Avanti to victory with the girls. Even though we are still 15 months out (or only 15months out – depending on how you view it) in an athlete’s minds the London Games have definitely begun. And while the team will have to wait till the final World Cup in February 2012 to test the track ourselves the velodrome is definitely ready to go. And I’m sure it will be New Zealand bringing along the salt (and maybe a little vinegar) to add our own flavour to the ‘Pringle’ come Olympic race day 2012.