Posted by Editoress on 08/14/16
The Women's Sprint competition got underway on Sunday at the Rio Olympics, with Canadians Kate O'Brien and Monique Sullivan participating.
Both riders qualified in the top-18 out of 27 starters, with O'Brien 12th at 11.020 seconds for 200 metres and Sullivan 17th at 11.143 seconds. By qualifying they moved on to the head-to-head competition. In the first round, Sullivan faced the number two qualifier, Katy Marchand of Great Britain, and was beaten, while O'Brien was similarly defeated by Natasha Hansen of New Zealand. In the last chance Repechage race, O'Brien was second and Sullivan third, so neither moved on to the next round, on Monday.
"Around 11 seconds is what I rode at Worlds," said O'Brien, "but I wasn't comfortable on this track so it's more than I expected, to be honest. In the Repechage I was hoping to snag the front, but the chance didn't come. Miriam [Welte, of Germany] is a savvy rider who has been around for a long time, so you can't just sneak by her."
O'Brien also talked about her future in cycling. "That's a good question. I'm not totally sure. Definitely I would like to see where things could go in cycling, but I think that my plan is to stick around for the next season and see what it brings."
"I was so disappointed from yesterday [in the Keirin, when she exited after the first round]," said Sullivan. "It was a big disappointment not to deliver in the Keirin, so this morning it was hard to turn it around. I got some help from the staff, who told me to enjoy it and to be grateful to be here. I've heard people say that in interviews before and I kind of thought it was a cop out, but I'm realizing that it's not a cop out. It's the hardest thing in the world when you are disappointed to still be grateful to be here and appreciate the opportunity. So I got that help, and my 200 did turn around. I would have liked more, but I did the best I could for the day and sometimes that's all you can do."
"My first ride was actually a pretty decent ride. I qualified second last, so I went up against the second fastest, so it's hard to convince yourself when it's one-on-one that you can win this race. I really tried and went in with the attitude that I could win, but she just had more horsepower. But I raced a good race."
Sullivan also talked about her future plans, "I don't know ... Erin [Hartwell, national coach] is really pushing for us to stay. It's tough, to be honest; I really put everything into this, and I kind of feel like I got blown out of the water. So I don't know if I have what it takes to continue. But I'm going to Japan [to race Keirin] and I'm looking forward to that, and I'll re-evaluate after that. The team is really young and we are in the building stages so it's hard to say goodbye when I know there is more."
National coach Erin Hartwell, "My heart breaks ... I know the girls wanted so bad to do well here. My objective was to qualify a top-12, and they both made the top-18. I think they had a chance in the Repechage, and they both made a tactical error by allowing Welte [of Germany] to grab that second spot, and it allowed the German to come around at the end. I'm disappointed for them, but I'm really happy with how far they've come in the past two years. The effort that they put into qualifying for these Games was phenomenal."
Erin also spoke about Hugo Barrette, who will race the Men's Keirin on Tuesday. "He's chomping at the bit, and he's in the best frame of mind I've ever seen him. He's as solid as he was at the Pan Am Games and the Hong Kong World Cup, where he showed he is a world class competitor. That guy is going to be on fire. The times that I have seen in training are unprecedented for Hugo, so I have high expectations, and I know he does too."