One of the all-time greats of mountain biking

As we approach the 2024 Olympic mountain bike races in Paris this summer, we have to wonder who will come away with the medals this time. There are so many top competitors that it’s practically impossible to predict which riders will win the gold medals this July.

One thing we do know is that France’s Julien Absalon (shown here) set the bar incredibly high for anyone who wants to try to break his Olympic record. Absalon is the only male mountain biker to win two Olympic gold medals, doing so in 2004 and 2008.

Paola Pezzo is the only woman to win two Olympic gold medals, doing so in 1996 and 2000, the first two Olympics that included mountain biking.

Julien had some tough competition in those days, too. Nino Schurter won the Olympic bronze medal in 2004, the silver medal in 2008, and the gold medal in 2012.

Nino took fourth place in the last Olympics (held in 2021, due to the COVID-19 delay), when Tom Pidcock won the men’s gold medal and Yolanda Neff won the women’s, but Nino will probably be doing everything he can to try to get another gold medal this year.

In the meantime, Julien Absalon can take some satisfaction in knowing that he’s got two Olympic gold medals to his name today. MBA’s John Ker shot this photo in 2010, at Mont-Sainte-Anne, Canada, during that year’s UCI Mountain Bike World Championships, where the Elite Men’s XC winner was Jose Antonio Hermida Ramos, who beat both Absalon and Schurter that year.,


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