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Friday, June 1, 2012
Arielle Martin, Olympic BMX athlete

By Pat Nugent
ESPN.com

Arielle Martin is no longer training to make the U.S. Olympic team -- she's training to win a medal in London.

Last weekend, at the UCI BMX World Championships in Birmingham, U.K., Intense BMX team rider Arielle Martin secured the first women's spot on Team USA's 2012 Olympic BMX race team, leading into the 2012 London Olympics this summer.

Following her points lead in USA Cycling BMX power rankings after Sunday's main event, Martin was one of two riders to earn the "Automatic Nomination" slot to London 2012. Martin, 26, who was already leading in points going into Birmingham, avoided a wreck caused by Redline's Alise Post in turn one and held onto the lead to secure the nomination. Martin's addition to the Team USA Olympic BMX team comes four years after a unfortunate crash caused her to miss a spot on the Beijing Olympics team by a mere point.

"I was devastated when I crashed at the World Championships four years ago and lost my trip to Beijing by one point. I carried that with me for four years and I'll admit -- going into Birmingham, I was pretty terrified of a repeat happening," said Martin earlier this week on her blog.

Martin clinched the nomination with a fourth place finish in semifinals. "Deep down I knew at that moment that I was going to London. It freed the monkey that had been on my back for four years and the main event got to be the icing on the cake. I was just free to race it and have fun," said the Cedar Hills, Utah resident. Martin again finished fourth in the main event.

It freed the monkey that had been on my back for four years.

--Arielle Martin

Four days after the World Championships, Martin had already returned to the Olympic Training Center (OTC) in Chula Vista, Calif. to begin training.

"I'm not training for the team anymore, I'm training for a medal," she told BMXNews.com on Thursday. "It's very humbling."

Martin's current sponsors include Intense, THE, SINZ, Nike, Oakley and Fly Racing.

In related news, USA Cycling announced on Thursday the eight athletes to compete at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trials on June 16 in Chula Vista, Calif. Invited athletes include Connor Fields, Nic Long, Mike Day, Barry Nobles, Corben Sharrah, Donny Robinson, Joey Bradford and Josh Meyers. Because of his automatic nominations, David Herman will not compete at the Team Trials.

Final nominations U.S. Olympic Team for BMX are set to be announced on June 18. All nominations are subject to approval by the USOC board of directors.

Read Martin's bio on the USA Cycling website and follow her on Twitter for the latest Olympic happenings.