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London 2012 Olympic Games BMX Day 1 Seeding Run Report and Photos

by Laura Robinson
August 08, 2012 (London, UK) – Coquitlam, B.C.’s Tory Nyhaug appears to have recovered from the horrific accident that led to surgery to remove his spleen earlier this season. He rode with confidence, finishing 20th of 32 riders, with a 39.515 time over the 450-metre track. The Netherlands dominated as Raymon van der Biezen qualified fastest in 37.779, French rider Joris Daudet was second in 38.221, while Netherlands took 3rd in 38.339. US star, Connor Fields, was 4th in 38.421, while Colombia took the 5th spot in 38.445.

Nyhaug said the track was really fast, but he was prepared for that. “The warm-up for the time trial went really well. But I definitely didn’t get the right set up out of the first corner,” explained Nyhaug about his ride. “I made a mistake; this track’s really technical.”

Mistake or not, Nyhaug says he’s “probably going to go for it” on Thursday when the real racing begins. “It’s fun,” he says, though admits with his 20th position, he will not have the advantage of position in his heat and will have to ride from the outside lane – a more difficult position from which to win.

He goes in the 2nd heat of the 1/4 finals tomorrow with Fields, Andres Eduardo  Caicedo Jimenez of Colombia, Liam Phillips of GBR, Rihards Veide of Latvia, Jile van Gorkow of the Netherlands, Moana Moo Caille of France and Maik Baier of Germany. A tough bunch for sure as many finished much higher up in the qualification.

There were a number of Finnish journalists waiting for Nyhaug to warmdown as his mother’s family is Finnish. His uncle Jari Heinonen, who worked for Fox Head, got Nyhaug riding by the time he was 2 years old, and took him to Pitt Meadows, outside of Vancouver to a BMX track. This, plus the fact that until he took up cycling full-time, he was a triple A hockey player, makes him a story for the Finns, who are lacking medals at this Games.

In terms of competing without a spleen, Nyhaug said, “We just wanted to make sure I was healthy, and now I’m here and feeling good. We’ll see what’s going to happen in the heats.” No matter what, he says the Olympic Village experience has been so important for him. “There’s so much diversity in the athletes.”

Canada did not qualify a woman for the women’s race, which inexplicably is 10 metres shorter and on a different course. Today’s qualifier was won by Caroline Buchanan of Australia in 38.434. Neighbour Sarah Walker of New Zealand took 2nd in 38.644, Colombia’s Mariana Pajon was 3rd in 38.767; 4th place went to France’s Laetitia le Corguilie, while Team GBR’s Shanaze Reade took 5th to thunderous applause in filled stands that seat 6,000.

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