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Wednesday, July 18, 2012
Updated: July 27, 12:57 PM ET
Team USA's Alise Post preps for London


American Olympic rider Alise Post defied the odds this year after coming back from two (almost completely missed) seasons. Post's struggles began just prior to the 2010 ABA Grand Nationals when she fell on the amateur track at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, Calif. In the fall, Post suffered a broken leg that would wipe out her shot at the women's title and keep her out of competition for much of 2011.

In the summer of 2011, Post was back and stronger than ever -- winning races as if she hadn't missed a beat. However, a few weeks later her luck would change yet again. While finishing up prep work for the 2011 UCI Worlds, Post again had an unfortunate crash, blowing out her knee. This would keep her off the bike for the remainder of 2011 and wipe away much of the hope and promise of making the 2012 Olympic team.

This year however, with the help of coach Sean Dwight, Post came back stronger than ever and powered herself into position to receive the "Coach's Pick" for a spot on the 2012 Olympic Team. We caught up with Alise to get some feedback and see where her head was at.

Team USA's Alise Post.

ESPN.com: How do you feel about the attention you've gained since being crowned an Olympic athlete?
Post: I think all the media and attention from the Olympics surrounding both me individually, and just the sport of BMX in general is great. I think we need as much as we can get to help grow the sport and make it more mainstream. I think the sport has a ton of potential to take off, and I would love to be a face that helps make that happen. At the same time however, for my personal Olympic prep, I am trying to be smart about how I deal with the extra attention, because I still have my personal goals that I don't want to detract from. It's undoubtedly a balancing act and a learning curve.

After a crazy last couple of seasons, are you preparing for the Olympics differently than you did for the 2010 ABA Grands or 2011 UCI Worlds?
I have definitely had some misfortune and bad timing in the past year and a half, but I have matured a lot as an athlete because of those things, which is working in my favor this year and during this prep. I think the most important thing right now is to keep things simple and not over think things. When you start changing your routines and doing things out of the ordinary, a lot of times, that's when things go wrong. I learned a lot through the struggles I've had as of late, including understanding why those things probably happened. My coach Sean Dwight and I have focused a lot on improving my weaknesses this year, and my results have shown that my training is working. So, the plan is to stick to what's gotten me to this point this year.

How did you manage to make such a strong comeback in such a short amount of time?
My strong comeback has been a product of a culmination of things. As I said before, I have learned a lot through my misfortunes, and with the help of Sean I have really been able to narrow down my focus to the important things for Alise Post to be a successful athlete. I didn't want to let an injury beat me, and after riding the roller coaster from the top to the bottom and around again, I have never been hungrier to see my full potential than I have been this entire year. I think that drive combined with having the best in the business in every department surrounding me (surgeons, sports medical team, coaching, training environment, facilities, sponsors , friends, family, boyfriend) has made for quite a quick turnaround in my case. I can't thank all of my support enough for their continued commitment to me.

Alise Post in the lead earlier this year.

What has changed in the past four weeks since you've become an official Olympian?
Since making the Olympic Team I can't really say all that much has changed for me besides the media picking up a bit. People seem to be a little more interested in my day to day for some reason, which has minimized my downtime. But like I said, my focus has been been to keep things as normal as possible, so I've been doing just that.

Do you think there will be bigger challenges going in to the Olympic Games as opposed to a normal Supercross race?
I think the biggest challenge for this race will be managing the anxiety and pressure of being on the world stage, with more media and people than BMX has ever seen before. Being amongst the atmosphere in the village will be a new experience for many of us and who handles this new environment best will ultimately be a game changer.

I am trying to be smart about how I deal with the extra attention, because I still have my personal goals that I don't want to detract from. It's undoubtedly a balancing act and a learning curve.

--Alise Post

Has living with Sam Willoughby changed the way you look at racing and go into a race weekend?
Sam has been a huge influence on my BMX career since I met him in 2008. He is a very inspiring individual that makes me want to be the best me I can be day in and day out. We've both learned a lot from each other in the past few years and brought out the best in each other. I've learned to take things a bit more seriously at times whereas he has learned to relax and go with the flow of things a bit more at times. Obviously living together, we know all the little routines or quirks each other has leading into a race, but ultimately we are different people with different personalities and every athlete has to figure out what works for them. We're all wired a little differently.

One last question. Who is your favorite to win the Men's race?
Oh boy you're going to pin me with that question. I am walking a fine line here. Of course I want nothing more than to hang matching medals up on the wall at home with my Sammy when we get home from London. But I can't leave out that I also want my training partner Connor Fields, who has taken on this year's challenges with me and helped me as a rider, to bring home a medal with us.