By Sue George
Just two weeks after being named to represent the United States at the upcoming Olympic Games in Beijing in August, Adam Craig successfully defended his US national cross country and Super D titles in Mount Snow, Vermont. Last weekend, at the Mont-Sainte-Anne, Quebec, World Cup, Craig logged an impressive fourth place podium place. Craig spoke about his preparation for the Olympic Games and the effect the Games have had on his season.
It's not the first time Adam Craig has built a season around the Olympic Games. In 2004, Craig was one of four contenders for two positions on the US Olympic team. After a season-long, global quest for the UCI points needed to make the team, Craig was not selected. However, in 2008, things have worked out quite differently.
"It is a lot better this time around - in part because the [selection] criteria is not absolutely ridiculous," said Craig when asked how his two experiences of trying to make it to the 2004 and 2008 Olympic Games compared. "But I'm also four years older and four years faster, and I know what I need to do now." Craig will turn 27 just one week before the Olympic race.
"It - the effort to make the Olympic team - has been pleasant and pretty easy as far as hard things go," said a joking Craig as he looked back on his spring campaign.
Four years has brought Craig more maturity, perspective, confidence and experience travelling in Europe. "I know as long as I'm riding decent that I can always be top 15 top 20 World Cup. I'm comfortable with myself racing now."
He also credited his Team Giant for providing a mechanic and a soigneur this time around. "I have better support. We have a good set up. Knowing that's necessary and being able to put my foot down makes a difference. I said, 'You know last time my bike broke a bunch and I didn't make the Olympic team - let's try to avoid that.'"
USA Cycling named Craig to the US Olympic team in early July along with Todd Wells, who also went to the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Greece. Wells started off the 2008 season with a bang, sending the message to the others that he really wanted one of the two Olympic berths.
"Todd's got a leg up on me for sure. He's been riding out of his skin. I've been riding fairly average." said Craig about a month before winning two national titles at Mount Snow, Vermont.
Read the complete interview with Adam Craig.