Taking place from August 8 to August 10, the Olympic women's BMX cycling event could throw up some surprise competitors on the medal podium. As in all sports some riders are more favored for medals than others; however, the tight course and bunched nature of BMX racing make crashes inevitable. Among the favored riders are Shanaze Reade, Alise Post and Magalie Pottier.
The host nation will be throwing all their support, and pressure, onto the shoulders of former world champion and Team GB's only female BMX competitor Shanaze Reade. The 23 year old from Crewe was the favorite for gold at the 2008 Beijing Games, where she crashed in the final. A three time BMX world champion, Reade has the ability to win; unfortunately, her buildup to London 2012 was interrupted by a crash in the quarterfinals of the 2012 World Championships in Birmingham, U.K., The Guardian reports. Reade is a talented all round cyclist who has won two World Championships as a track cycling in team events with Olympic champion Victoria Pendleton, according to London 2012.
Entering any Olympic sport the world champion is always amongst the favorites for the gold medal. France's Magalie Pottier won the 2012 World Championships, and bettered the third place she achieved at the 2011 World Championships. The 23 year old Pottier was followed in second place at the World Championships by her compatriot Eva Ailloud.
American Alise Post finished 8th at the 2012 World Championships after crashing as she entered the home-straight leading the final. Post finished third at the 2010 World Championships, and enters the Olympics as the second place rider in the UCI World Cup standings, USA Cycling reports. During the 2012 UCI World Cup season Post has finished in the top four in all three events, including victory at the final event before the Olympics.
Caroline Buchanan of Australia was competing in world class BMX events heading into the 2008 Beijing Olympics; but at the age of 17 was too young to compete until the 2012 London Games, Intense BMX reports. Buchanan, 21 is the current leader of the UCI World Cup, an event she finished in second place during the 2010 season.
23 year old Romana Labounkova is another rider to watch as the BMX competition progresses. Labounkova, of the Czech Republic finished third in the 2012 world Championships. Arielle Martin, the U.S. teammate of Alise Post could also feature in the medals following a fourth placed finish at the World Championships.
Paul Cartmell has been riding in a variety of bicycle disciplines, including road racing, mountain bikes and BMX as an amateur for over twenty years.