A relaxed Reynolds enjoying the road to Rio
Published 27 July 2016 (AEDT)
CYCLING - BMX: Seventeen years ago in Bunbury WA, an eight-year-old girl grabbed an old ice cream lid, drew on her own number with a black sharpie and attached it to her BMX bike.
Then, wearing her favourite tracksuit pants, she followed her brother and cousin to a local club BMX race, took on the boys and won. And she was hooked.
Switch back to 2016, and Lauren Reynolds (WA) is on the verge of contesting her second Olympic Games for Australia – just the second woman to do so.
“It was love at first sight and here I am sixteen years later,” Reynolds said from her training base in Chula Vista, California. Reynolds, plus Caroline Buchanan (ACT) and Sam Willoughby (SA), will become Australia’s first dual BMX Olympians when they line up in the event in Rio. They will be joined by debutants Anthony Dean (SA) and Bodi Turner.
“Now I feel like I have to pinch myself and remind myself, ‘I have been to one, and now I am going to two’.”
Reynolds is primed for a great performance in Rio with rich 2016 form which has included a podium finish at the 2016 Oceania Championships and four podium finishes in the USA BMX circuit including her first win on the tour.
At the 2016 World Championships, Reynolds finished eighth and heads into the Rio 2016 Olympic Games ranked inside the world’s top ten.
“Things are on track, things are going well and I am excited to get out there,” said the US-based Reynolds who finished fourth in the Rio test event in 2015. “Everything feels great, can’t wait to get back to Rio, I have already been there for test event, and there were definitely good vibes.”
A second Games is certainly a superb achievement, and those around Reynolds know exactly how the dream was almost ruined when her career was momentarily paused in 2013 when she tore her ACL.
“It was a big hurdle as it was my first real injury and I had never been in the position of having the forced recovery on the sidelines,” said Reynolds, who finished in the top 15 while on debut at the London 201 Olympic Games.
Reynolds left her California home and returned home to WA for surgery and rehabilitation. However she revealed that the family time - much of it spent in her personal ‘zen’ of deep sea fishing with her father off the coast of Western Australia – was the best medicine.
"Yes, there were plenty of photos of me out there with a fat knee in a strap" she joked. "But it was amazing, just Dad and I, nothing around except the deep blue.
“Yes, it was hard to swallow at first, but looking back it enabled me to take a look at where I was at, and enabled me look in from the sidelines, go back to the basics, and importantly it made me hungry again.
“So now heading into Rio, I have taken a different approach to London. Just how I look at the sport I guess, the way I hold myself in training, I have taken the edge off a bit.
“All the hard work has paid off to get her, so I am looking to enjoy the moment the whole journey.”
And with the journey’s destination looming in only three weeks, a relaxed Reynolds is just focusing on doing her best.
“Right now I am just going to breathe, and not let the hype take over,” she added.
“Yes, I want a medal 100%, gold would be great of course. But at the end of the day, if I can get in the main event, I want to give myself every chance.
“I just want to ride to my ability and put in a good lap around the track.
“I know have earned my stripes, and if I walk away from Rio, and even my career when it is all said and done, knowing I have given everything, I will be happy.”