Olympic Champions to defend BMX gold medals in Rio
2016 is a big year for Maris Strombergs who is undefeated BMX Olympic Champion: he won the discipline’s first Olympic gold in Beijing eight years ago, and followed that up with another victory in London 2012. He is excited about trying to win a third title in Rio this weekend. The Latvian has been working harder than ever, and in preparation carefully selected the races he thought necessary to reach his goal in Brazil.
"I've always performed well under pressure when my back is against the wall and I have no options but to perform," the FreeAgent rider said, he continues: "At our level it just comes down to the confidence. Sometimes you don't need to be the fastest, if you feel confident and you're on top of your game, you can pull it off. What helps is experience. I feel like I've been there before and I feel I can get out there and pull it off."
Defending women’s gold medallist Mariana Pajon has reached rock star status in Colombia thanks to her win at the Olympic Games in London 2012. The number of followers on Social Media confirm that. At age 24, Mariana is as strong as ever, which she demonstrated at the 2016 UCI BMX World Championships in Colombia by claiming the Elite title in front of her home crowd.
She says: "Your body hears everything your mind says. Four years ago I had a dream. Today I am moments away from starting a new one and I keep giving you the best of myself to get it."
However anything can happen in BMX. A full gate of eight riders doesn't leave much room for error, and getting away in front is important for a rider to get free of the field. Both Strombergs and Pajon will focus on the holeshot and try to carry that momentum to the finish line. Latvia will be watching Strombergs, while the entire country of Colombia will be behind Pajon, all hoping to see BMX history in the making.