Sarah Walker, New Zealand's first Olympic BMX medallist, was born in Whakatane in 1988 and grew up in nearby Kawerau. She attended Kawerau South School and Trident High School in Whakatane. She started racing at the age of 10, in 1999. She'd watched her brother, Matt, riding BMX and thought it looked fun and wanted to have a go herself.
After a superb junior BMX career in which she was in the top three in the world, Walker finished runner-up at the 2007 world championships in Victoria, Canada, and won the cruiser class world title in her first year as an elite cyclist.
On the 2008 international circuit, Walker won seven races and gained a world No 1 ranking. She finished third in the world championships that year in Taiyuan, China. Her talent was obvious and she was one of the favourites for the 2008 Beijing Olympics, but she had just turned 20 and found the Olympics a huge step up.
BMX made its Olympic debut at Beijing in 2008 and Walker ended up in fourth place.
She was impressive in her qualifying ride and in the semi-finals, where her time of 36.731s was the fastest recorded.
Sarah's Games History
Olympic Summer Games London 2012
WomenBMX Final 38.133WomenBMX SF Heat 2 (all Runs) 12 QWomenBMX Seeding Run 38.644 Q2
Olympic Summer Games Beijing 2008
Final 38.805Semifinals Run 3 36.731 (1st)Semifinals Run 2 39.038 (3rd)Semifinals Run 1 37.499 (2nd)Seeding Run 2 37.549 (3)Seeding Run 1 37.187