A slow start was devastating for Caroline Buchanan’s hopes in the cut-throat Medal Final in the BMX racing at the London Olympics.
After superlative performances in the qualifying races and the semi-finals, Buchanan was highly fancied to at least be in the medals, but was well behind the front runners at the end of the starting ramp and was seventh into the tunnel.
In a field of such strong riders it was a near impossible task, barring crashes, yet Buchanan showed her prodigious aerial skills to gradually improve her standing and finish a close fifth to the winner, Mariana Pajon, of Colombia.
Good on the Kiwi, Sarah Walker, who won the silver medal, after crashing in the early rounds. The Dutch rider, Laura Smulders, was third, while the crowd favourite, Shanaze Reade, came sixth. Like Buchanan, Reade missed the start and was left to contemplate two disappointing campaigns – in Beijing and here, in front of a madly cheering home crowd.