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Heading into the 2012 London Olympics, Australian BMX racer Caroline Buchanan was ranked number one in the world in Time Trials and was leading the World Cup season.
Almost two weeks into the London Olympics, Buchanan arrived at the starting gate of the BMX track and placed first in Women's BMX seeding. Two days later, as the Women's BMX finals arrived, Buchanan placed a disappointing 5th. The race ended, and Buchanan slumped over her handlebars and began to sob. Her Olympic dream, one she had been chasing since she was a child, had been dashed.
"I made some mistakes, and I didn't check every single box," says Buchanan about her Olympic debut. "I was devastated."
For many athletes, that could have been the defining moment of their careers. Not Caroline Buchanan though. "Leading out of the London Olympic Games, I definitely wanted to start fresh," said Buchanan.
In 2013, she bounced back to win the UCI World Four Cross Championships in Austria, followed by the UCI BMX World Championships in New Zealand. "I owe my success in 2013 to losing that medal in London," she continues.
This weekend marks the first UCI BMX Supercross event of the 2014 season (in Manchester, U.K.), and the beginning of Caroline Buchanan's bid for the 2016 Olympics. In the above video, the first in a nine-part series dubbed "Up Close & Personal," Buchanan recounts her Olympic debut, her triumphant return in 2013 and her 2016 Olympic aspirations.
"I think a gold medal in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio is the pinnacle of success and something I'm very hungry for," says Buchanan. And that rally begins this weekend in Manchester. To keep up with Buchanan's progress, follow her on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.