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US Track Cyclists Focus on Winning Olympic Gold


Track cycling is one of the fastest Olympic sports. Riders on specially built bicycles race around steeply banked tracks where wins are often measured in hundredths of a second. For producer Liu Enming, Elaine Lu has more on the challenges of the sport and the determination of the American team to win in Beijing.

"It's something that I have dreamed about for so many years," says Jennie Reed. "I can remember when I was 16 years old, going on training rides and dreaming about the day that I can raise my hands on the podium. So, it's a long time coming, it took me quite a few years but it also made it that much more gratifying."

After more than a decade of international competition, Jennie Reed recently won her first world championship gold medal. The event was Keirin, a competition that features a furious sprint to the finish. While the event is not part of the Olympics, Reed believes the win will give her confidence in her other races in Beijing.

"What I want is a gold medal," says Sarah Hammer, who will represent the U.S. team in pursuit racing. "That's always been my goal since four years ago. I wanted to get the Gold. I am going to Beijing hoping to be flying home with a Gold medal around my neck"

Hammer has been competing since she was 10, but missed the 2004 Olympics after taking a break from the sport.

"The thing that finally brought me back was watching the 2004 Olympics, watching my main event which is individual pursuit. Just watching the medal being handed out, watching them go over those girls' necks. I wondered why did I let my dreams slip away, I've been dreaming of going to the Olympics since I was a little girl."

Since coming back, Hammer has won many events including the 2006 and 2007 pursuit world championships.

Reed and Hammer are both looking forward to competing in Beijing and racing in the new Laoshan Velodrome.

"The velodrome was amazing, the facility was amazing," Hammer said. "I have never seen anything like it before. It was spectacular. Everybody in China has outdone themselves."

"It is an awesome facility, world class, probably the best facility I have been to my whole career," Reed added. "The track was as smooth as silk. As far as the pollution goes, we'll see. Hopefully it will clean up a little bit but it's something that every athlete is going to have to deal with."

Reed recently turned 30 and says staying in the sport has been challenging. She credits her cycling team for keeping her Olympic dream alive.

"If we hadn't started the Momentum Cycling I probably would have been retired by now. Luckily Dr. Howard Marans came in really wanted to support athletes that were ambitious that had these dreams. We are really fortunate for that. "

Momentum Cycling is a professional cycling team founded by Dr. Howard Marans, an orthopedic surgeon and an avid cyclist.

"I am really hoping track cycling picks-up in the United States from popularity point of view," says Marans.

Adam Duvendeck is Reed's teammate at Momentum Cycling and is making his second trip to the Olympics.

He said that "the first time I was so taken in by the Olympic movement, the Olympic experience. I think a lot of those can be distraction to your actual competition. Knowing what to expect at the huge event like the Olympics, I think I will be a better position just focus on my race"

With the Olympic Games fast approaching, Duvendeck and Reed say they are focused.

According to Duvendeck, "when it comes to Olympics, I think my goal is a top in finish for me right now. I think it's a feasible goal."

"My goal is to win the Olympics," Reed said.