Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Hear From the U.S. Olympic Track Team Ahead of the Track Events

Hear from the U.S. Olympic track cycling team before their competition begins at the velodrome in London. The American track cyclists will contest the men's sprint, men's omnium and women's team pursuit during the course of the track events.

The U.S. Olympic track cycling team met the media on Tuesday morning. (Photo by Casey B. Gibson)
The U.S. Olympic track cycling team met the media on Tuesday morning. (Photo by Casey B. Gibson) 

ON THE NOISE IN THE VELODROME: "We got used to it in February (at the Test Event). It was definitely all GB (supporting Great Britain). Hopefully, for this we'll have some more American supporters out there. The noise is noise and it's cool to have the energy. You just learn to direct it, even if it's for someone else, you learn to direct as excitement in the air."

ON THE DIFFERENCE FROM HER OLYMPIC EXPERIENCE: "I'm four years older. I've been around, not only on an international level, but also experienced at what the Olympics are. I have to say it's been awesome here. It's exciting. Everyone has been so nice. It's so well organized. The village is great. The food is good. It's been a great experience so far for sure."

ON DRAWING FROM HER EXPERIENCE FROM THE 2008 OLYMPIC GAMES: "It definitely helps to know what a big stage it is. Now that I see everyone from across the world, I take that as excitement and I'm getting to meet everyone from everywhere. It's nerve-wracking when you first are around. It can be overwhelming."

ON THE TRACK: "The track was fast in February (at the Test Event) and I think it is going to be just as fast or faster here with everyone’s physical abilities coming up. Everyone rides the same track so it’s just kind of a bonus knowing that you also could be going for world records."

ON THE OMNIUM: "The best way to describe the omnium is six events over two days with everything from a 14-second effort to a 25-minute points race. It includes everything there is on the track; from sprint to endurance to tactical handling skills, time trialing, everything. Obviously the individual pursuit is one of my favorites as it was my bread and butter, but they are all unique. Anything can happen in the mass start events which is what makes it so exciting for the spectators and a little more nerve wracking for the competitors."

ON HER TRAINING: "My training has changed a lot since I transitioned over to the omnium. We did it in stages. Which took almost a year. Getting back in the gym and getting stronger was a priority so I could do more quality lifting this year. The sprint element has been the biggest change as it is different training. The crazy thing is you still have to be a great endurance rider. I still have to go get my butt out there on the road and try to keep up with people when I’ve done 12 second efforts the day before."

Bobby Lea takes some time to speak with the Associated Press.
Bobby Lea takes some time to speak with the Associated Press.
ON BEING SELECTED TO THE OLYMPIC TEAM: "It's always special to be an Olympian and to be a U.S. Olympian is the highest honor that any athlete can have. As a track cyclist, the Olympics is the pinnacle of our sport. It was amazing to get to go to one Olympics in Beijing. It's a real honor to have this opportunity a second time."

ON DRAWING FROM HIS EXPERIENCE AT THE 2008 OLYMPIC GAMES: "The experience in Beijing has allowed me to have a razor's edge focus for this event. I know what to expect. I know what I'm in for. I'm better able to handle the distractions that come along with the Olympics. I'm better prepared mentally and physically. I have a much better focus on the racing at hand."

ON HIS PREPARATION: "I started training with Brian Walton of Walton Endurance a few months ago. The preparation has been incredible. He's intimately familiar with the demands of track racing. I couldn't be happier with my final preparation here."

ON HIS STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES AS AN OMNIUM RIDER: "The six events of the omnium cross the full spectrum from the pure sprint to the pure endurance. In all honesty, my strengths and weaknesses in the omnium have been evolving as I've been evolving as an omnium rider. As far as what's going to be my stronger or weaker events in the next few days, that remains to be seen. It's been changing as the racing has been going on. Hopefully, I've eliminated a few of those weaknesses."

ON HER MENTAL PREPARATION: "Right now, for me, I'm trying not to make it (Olympics) something that's so big and what I've worked for. I'm just focusing on the event on Friday and be at my best. I'm not letting the big experience get to me right now, for sure, I'll want to take part in it after."

ON HOW SHE KEEPS FOCUSED AND BALANCED: "Because I started racing when I was so young, I learned how to be independent, focused and driven at a young age, as a teenager. I had to balance traveling with cycling and trying to be the best in the sport I can be with going to school and trying to lead a normal childhood life. I think it's just something I developed over the years."

ON THE CHEMISTRY BETWEEN THE FOUR WOMEN'S TEAM PURSUIT RIDERS: "We haven't decided who is going to ride which round, how we're going to do it. There's definitely a strategy that's involved. All four of us will ride. We just don't know which ride we will do. We've worked so hard as a team, the four of us. We're all supportive of everyone. We know all four of us are going to give our 110 to the event. Unfortunately, only three of us can ride, but if we medal, all four of us medal, so it's good for the team."


Jimmy Watkins talking to a television station during the press conference. (Photo by Andrea Smith)
Jimmy Watkins talking to a television station during the press conference. (Photo by Andrea Smith)
ON HIS FIRST OLYMPIC EXPERIENCE: "It is my first Olympics and it has been pretty cool just to see the magnitude of everything. You realize what it is to represent your country coming in here. You just have to focus on what you are doing and try not to change anything you’ve been doing the last four years."

ON HIS CURRENT FORM: "I’m definitely in the best form I’ve ever been in my life, being able to take off from work and train full time. It’s actually the first time I’ve been able to do that so I feel great."

ON BALANCING HIS ATHLETIC CAREER WITH HIS EVERYDAY LIFE: "My hometown of Bakersfield, California has been really supportive of what I’m doing. My work with the Kern County Fire Department has been superhelpful. They allowed me to take two months off to train and it is the first time in my career I’ve  been able to train as a full-time athlete and it just made leaps and bounds in my performance so I’m coming in with high hopes."

ON WHEN HE TRAINS: "It’s really difficult balancing (being a full-time firefighter, husband and father) and you are spread real thin in every aspect of your life. You just get it in when you can. I train maybe one day a week down in L.A. on the track and a lot of it is done on stationary bike, weight room or rollers while I’m at work."

ON THE DIFFERENCE IN TRAINING AS AN OLYMPIAN: "Now I get to train like a full-time athlete. I’m on the track four days a week."

ON HIS GOALS FOR THE EVENT: "Your goal is to do the best you’ve ever done, your PR (personal record). That should put my up close to the top of qualifying. My PR at sea level is 0:10.01 and 0:09.87 at altitude."

ON HIS EXPECTATIONS AT THE TRACK: "This track is certainly fast. You’re going to see some world records set here this week. The crowds should be great. Cycling is very much alive here."

Source: www.usacycling.org

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