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August 20/12 9:33 am - What Happened - A Coaching Perspective

Posted by Editoress on 08/20/12

Canada's track cycling team was expected to produce two Olympic medals, with the women's Team Pursuit squad winning bronze but, disappointingly, Tara Whitten finishing fourth in the women's Omnium.

Now, with a two week post-Olympics perspective, Canada's national track coach, Richard Wooles, has provided a response:

So, I have been getting a few emails and calls over the last week or so asking me what happened....Here is my take on it.

We are trying to build a system from scratch, and it just takes time.  Our goal was to win two medals, and to build a team that will keep fighting for medals in the future. We battled to a bronze medal in the Women's Team Pursuit, and unfortunately things didn't work out in the Men's and Women's Omniums. Zach and Tara were so disappointed with how things turned out, but they showed their incredible strength of character by fighting right until the end, as did all of our riders.

In Beijing in 2008, we achieved a 12th place, a 9th place, and a 7th place [on the track], with three riders and one coach, and six weeks of training.

In London in 2012, we earned a medal (third), a fourth place, a sixth place, an eighth place, a 12th place, and a 13th place, with seven riders and a good support team. Most of this team has been in place for two years, with riders and staff based at the velodrome in LA, and this is the start of the system we envision. We aim to continue our development in the endurance events and to create a better system for the sprint events in the Rio 2016 and the 2020 Games, so that we can compete for medals in all of the possible events.

Back a few Olympics ago, most countries "played" at around the same level. Successful riders did it themselves, or in pockets of great work that was happening. Now the Great Britain team is playing on an entirely different level, and even the strongest cycling nations with quality training venues and full-time support are struggling to find ways to beat them. What they do is nothing magical - they simply get as many of the details right as possible - and they are beatable, given a solid system that includes a seamless development pathway and consistent funding.

We are still in the early stages of building our system, and we can and will keep fighting.

• We need a indoor 250m track

• We did expect more - We will do better for our riders coming up and will keep working hard to make sure we can move up the table...

• Could we have done more YES! But did we all give the best we had on the day.. Yes... that is all we can do - give your best..

• We get a track in 2014 but again it takes time and we will need to work from the bottom up and build a full athlete development pathway


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