27 March 2020

Pedal to the medal: how the postponed Olympics gives Caroline another shot at glory

| Tim Gavel
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Caroline Buchanan

Caroline Buchanan is keeping busy despite self-isolation and the postponement of the 2020 Olympic Games. Photo: Supplied.

It’s hard not to be impressed by Caroline Buchanan.

Even the toughest of times (and she has had plenty over the past two and a half years) are turned into a positive.

In self-isolation in Canberra in the wake of COVID-19 after returning from the US, Caroline has turned her apartment into a home gymnasium in a bid to stay in shape.

“My parents dropped off some groceries and my dumbbells,” says Caroline, who was, up until a month ago, fully engaged in the BMX qualification process for the Tokyo Olympics.

That was until the coronavirus pandemic impacted on every aspect of life globally.

The Tokyo Olympics, scheduled to start on 24 July, has now been postponed to a date yet to be determined in 2021. For Caroline it’s a silver lining, given she was on the back foot in the qualification series following a horrendous two-and-a-half years.

In fact, she was off the bike for close to two years after suffering multiple injuries, including a broken sternum and collapsed lungs in an off-road accident at the end of 2017.

“I came back into the Olympic qualifying period late,” says Caroline. “I was only 80 per cent fit.”

If nothing else, the injury battle strengthened her mental resolve and the postponed Olympics gives her time to reach peak fitness and focus on building her strength.

“As soon as there was talk about the Olympics being postponed I started thinking about the benefits of being given more time to get back into a strength block.”

Speaking from isolation in Canberra, Caroline said she hoped to return to competition later in the year in mountain biking before turning her attention to the BMX Olympic qualification series next year.

While in self-isolation she has posted videos of her home gym workout routine, at the same time making sure her sponsors receive plenty of exposure through her extensive social media profile.

“After going through my injuries all my sponsorship is around my brand, I’m not reliant on podiums,” says Caroline, “I have invested heavily in promoting my brand.”

Caroline's sponsors. Photo: Supplied.

Caroline remains aware of her commitment to her sponsors through her brand. Photo: Supplied.

Leading Canberra professional services consulting firm Rubik3 is one of her backers. They sponsor her NextGen scholarship program, which provides funding to two young female riders a year in the 14 to 15 age group – a program she’s passionate about maintaining despite the current crisis.

Caroline’s time in isolation has also enabled her to start thinking about her next project away from the bike, such as more Girls Can B books.

“I’ve already started thinking about writing more kids books and the designs of the next phase of my kids’ bikes project.”

As the telephone conversation comes to end, it becomes obvious her action-packed lifestyle, filled by unbridled ambition to succeed in all aspects of life, hasn’t been diminished by self-isolation, nor the postponed Olympics.

Original Article published by Tim Gavel on The RiotACT.

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