An interesting turn of events
After showing she’s a cut above the current women’s field in downhill racing it seems that Rachel Atherton has considered switching disciplines for a chance to compete in the Olympics.
In an interview with The Telegraph she admitted she had given “serious thought” to converting to a track cyclist for the Olympics. She said: “A lot of the training is similar, and I know what my power output is and how it compares to the girls in the GB programme. I am more of a sprinter. I could cross over quite well into it.”
Watch Rachel Atherton show us the scars from her downhill racing career
If she were to make the switch, like three-time BMX World Champion Shanaze Reade, it would be too late for the 2016 Rio Olympics with the qualification process already well underway.
However, Atherton did clarify her current position by admitting: “At the end of the day what I want is to be happy and have a happy home life. And that’s not necessarily to be an Olympian or to be famous.
“I might not be as rich as Brad Wiggins or as well known as Lizzie Armitstead but I dare say I am equally as happy or more happy than them.”
Atherton used to be passionately in favour of downhill racing becoming an Olympic discipline, however recently her view has changed. In the same interview she said: “I am proud of mountain biking. I don’t feel we need to be an Olympic sport. It stands on its own two feet. It’s got a massive following. And it’s kind of cool to be able to say to people ‘we don’t need it to be an Olympic sport’.”
Atherton will return to the World Cup circuit next year racing for Trek Factory Racing.