Shanaze Reade – The Gold or Nothing

It was a shame to watch Shanaze Reade crash out of the medals this morning on the debut of BMX as an Olympic sport. I’ve got a lot of time for BMX, it’s often derided as being kid’s stuff; the bikes are small, the music that accompanies the races and events, the emphasis on fashion etc. Yet if I’m heading for the train in Trowbridge I pass the skate/bmx park there and it’s just brilliant to see loads of kids there, really honing their skills. These kids invest so much time and effort into not only achieving speed and stunts, but pulling them off with panache. It’s one in the eye for anyone who says kids just play computer games and don’t get out. Sure it’s dangerous, it was pretty sobering to see a bloom of blood soaking through Shanaze’s kit as she spoke to camera after her crash, but that surely hones the senses and heightens the rush of achievement when it all goes right.

GB has done so well in this Olympics that no one could begrudge Shanaze going for the gold instead of playing it safe and taking silver.

Here’s what she said in the post race interview:

“Why settle for silver? I put absolutely everything into this, my heart and my soul, everything since the age of 10.
“You don’t train as hard as I do for silver. It’s about the gold or nothing.”

That’s a refreshing attitude for a Brit, it wouldn’t be a gamble if sometimes it didn’t work out. I want my country to be represented by this sort of athlete, not because I think this is the way we should win more golds, but because striving to be the best, giving everything you possibly can, is what I believe it’s all about. If Shanaze had sat back and cruised in second, which she could have done easily, she would have looked back at the race, seen that opportunity that she could have taken and she would have kicked herself, hard.

She’s 19, she dominates her sport at World level, I hope she comes back in 2012 and maybe next time she makes a gamble, the dice will roll her way.

You’re going to see that clip of her falling off over and over again, so here’s a clip of her powering round a BMX track in Wrexham instead.

*In Addition*

Well there’s a ton of carping going on at the BBC Sports blog, A whole lot of rubbish being talked about whether she should have taken the gamble or not. One poster even has the laughable nerve to claim Chausson showed pure class all the way through. Perhaps that particular viewer fell asleep at the point when Chausson made her spectacular face-plant in the time trial, that was diluted class, not pure class at all. Some people were complaining that the loss of a silver will affect the British standings on the leader board – not so unless there’s a tie. Silvers count for Jack unless there’s equal Gold, which is one of the reasons why she went for it.

She did the right thing by going for gold. And furthermore, I will put forward the motion that attempting that gamble was absolutely in the spirit of BMX. The outsider status of the sport is confirmed by the tripe being spewed out all over the BBC blog, it’s a rebel sport, it’s supposed to be dangerous and it is ALL about risking it all, even life and limb, in the pursuit of winning. In terms of dramatic narrative, this sets her up beautifully for a storming comeback win in 2012, expect slow-motion re-runs of the crash with dramatic music in the BBC coverage before the event.

Published in: on August 22, 2008 at 9:08 am  Comments (2)  
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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Good post.

  2. Agree with every word. Since when was there any point in entering ANY race without at least trying to win? In my book Shanaze is just as heroic as those who won gold, just for her attitude and sheer effort.

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