By John Ker
Olympic cyclist Alison Dunlap is writing a diary of her Olympic experiences that will appear in the January 2001 issue of Mountain Bike Action. The issue will be available on newsstands November 30, and to subscribers and select bike shops up to two weeks earlier.
Alison left for Australia on September 12th. Before she left, we spoke with her in Mammoth Lakes, California, about the Olympic journal she is keeping. She had already started working on it and assured us she would get it to us in time for the deadline of that issue. It should be a fascinating behind-the-scenes account of what its like to make it to the Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia, to compete in the worlds greatest sporting event.
How tough will the competition be in Australia? Extremely tough. This is the event that the top cross-country riders in the world have been focusing on all year. This is the big one for them, the event that they care more about than the NORBA National Championship Series, the World Championships, or the World Cup series.
Dunlap, who finished second in the World Cup series this year after taking dual NORBA titles in 1999 (in short-track and long-course cross-country) is widely seen as Americas best bet for a mountain bike medal in Sydney. All told, five mountain bikers are representing the U.S. in Sydney. Joining Dunlap on the team are four-time (and current) national cross-country champion Ruthie Matthes, three-time national champion Tinker Juarez, 1999 national champion Travis Brown, and 2000 national short-track champion Ann Trombley.
Long-time MBA readers may recall that Susan DeMattei wrote a diary of her experiences in the 1996 Olympic Games. At the time Susan agreed to keep the journal for our readers, she was considered a long-shot for a medal. At that time, Juli Furtado was considered our best hope for a medal and was under constant siege by the worlds media. As it turned out, however, Juli was already suffering from yet-to-be diagnosed case of lupus, an immune system disorder, that later led to her retirement from the sport.
Susan,as it turned out, had one of the best races of her life, coming from behind after a bad start to lead the race, before succumbing to attacks from eventual winner Paola Pezzo and silver medalist Alison Sydor. DeMattei won the bronze medal, the only American mountain biker to win a medal in the 96 Games in Atlanta, Georgia. Her story appeared in the November 1996 issue of MBA.
Susan and her husband, Dave Wiens, incidentally, had twin boys on April 21st this year. The two, Samuel and Bennett, can provide company to their older brother, Cooper, now two, while dad (the 1993 NORBA national champion) is out riding his bike.