June 24, 2008 – Today the Canadian Cycling Association (CCA) announced that National BMX team member Sam Cools was selected to the Canadian Olympic team roster, in what will be a historic event for Canada and the world as BMX makes its debut in Beijing.
National BMX coach Tanya Dubnicoff presented Sam to the media, along with her coach Herve Krebs via conference call from the UCI cycling centre in Aigle, Switzerland, where Cools has been training since November.
“I’m really excited to represent Canada in making history,” said Cools. “This is a very big accomplishment for me, and I’m extremely motivated with my training now that I see the light at the end of the tunnel.”
Cools sounded the more confident than ever, yet very grounded and focused on the task at hand. She explained that her fifth place finish at the 2008 BMX Worlds, despite her recent neck injury prior to the event, gave her the boost she needed to continue her quest for Olympic gold. “I’m very focused and motivated to train harder more than ever, and am constantly pushing myself. I ask myself at the end of each day if I have done enough and that answer is “˜yes’. I am very confident that I will reach the podium in Beijing and think about how to reach that goal each day.”
Her coach, Krebs, is confident in Cool’s ability to produce come race day. “Sam is the most determined, focused and enthusiastic athlete I have ever worked with,” he explained. “She is constantly asking me what more she can do, and never complains. This motivates me even more as a coach to do the best I can to see that she reaches her ultimate goal. It makes me very happy.” Krebs became Cool’s coach in November 2007 after they met at a UCI training camp. Dubnicoff complimented Krebs on his work with Cools and is confident that he will give her the tools to reach the podium in Beijing.
Dubnicoff expressed her enthusiasm on how exposure of BMX at the Games will have a positive effect on the sport. “Spectators will see the high speeds off the start hill, the huge air off the jumps, the sheer power and crashes.” She further explained how BMX displays an equal if not greater force of explosion of athletes like in track cycling. “The skills are similar at the epic level of true force & agility.”
When asked about her feelings on her brother Ken coaching the New Zealand team, including Olympic team member Sarah Walker, Cools had nothing but praise. “I’m so happy that we can both have our Olympic experience,” she added that Ken is an amazing coach and that New Zealand is very pleased to have him.
The first gate in Olympic BMX racing action will drop on August 20 with the time trials and the first two rounds of qualifying. The third round and final will take place on August 21.
The CCA has yet to select the athlete to fill the men’s spot that it earned at the BMX World Championships. Two athletes, Jim Brown from Alberta and current national champion Scott Erwood from BC, will compete in a race-off at an event in Chula Vista, CA in two weeks as part of the selection process.