Olympic and Worlds victories still sinking in
For French woman Julie Bresset (BH - SR Suntour - Peisey Vallandry), 2012 has been a good year. The 23-year-old won both the Olympic Games and the world championship in elite women's mountain biking, something only done once before, by Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjaa in 2004.
"August 11, 2012. This was a magical day. I became Olympic champion in cross country mountain biking in London," said Bresset.
"It was an incredible race, and I had a lot of fun on the course. I did not think I would be able to win my first Olympics ... and it's hard to get over it! Everything was beautiful that day: the venue, the public, the weather, my kit, my bike ... a dream!"
Becoming Olympic champion does have some downsides. She noted the many obligatory invitations, receptions, travel and interviews that followed, but it's a small price to pay for her success. "I take everything that happens to me," she said.
Three weeks after the Olympics, Bresset was at the mountain bike Worlds in Saalfelden, Austria. "How do I approach these championships after my Olympic adventure? Where am I physically?" were questions that ran through Bresset's mind.
It was a complicated balance between preparation and and hoping for a good result without feeling too much pressure.
"I was happy to be there and to do the team relay with the French team." Her team finished second.
Speaking of the world championship cross country race later that same weekend, she said, "The race turned in my favor with technical errors made by my competitors from the first lap onward. I wanted to take control of the race. In each technical section, I gained 10 seconds. Awesome! I kept my head straight and held on until the end. Now I am the world champion among the elite women."
Her success has clearly not totally sunk in yet. "I cannot believe all my performances," she said. "I am very happy and excited for all this upheaval in my life. Thanks to my partners, my team, my coach, the French team staff, my family and my friends. All these people have contributed to my success. I'm delighted to be with them and hope that this adventure continues."
Given her success and young age, mountain biking may be seeing its next dominant female racer as Juli Furtado, Paola Pezzo and Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjaa have been in previous periods.