London 2012 legacy in Colombian Olympic Sport
It's going to be two years from London 2012 and the Olympic legacy of this games still making changes internationally. Sports Gazette international correspondent: Gerardo Lemos had exclusive access to London 2012 BMX gold medalist Mariana Pajon this past weekend in Nashville Tennessee.
A quite productive weekend had the Colombian Olympic medalist, Mariana Pajon, member of the GW-Shimano-PRO team, at the international competition: Music City Nationals - Pro Series that was held in Nashville, Tennessee in the United States.
Sports Gazette had total access to the Colombian medalist after her victory at the Pro-series of BMX in Nashville.
The world's fastest woman in BMX, Pajon, embodies lessons that will be of great help for Rio 2016.
Pajon is 21 years old, she won the gold medal in London 2012 Olympics. She defeated the BMX favorite, Australian Caroline Buchanan, who obtained the best times in London.
Rio 2016 attracts a great attention of entrepreneurs not only for Brazil, but for the entire South American region.
Mariana shared her vision of what Rio means not only for Brazil, but for all Latin America with Sports Gazette on exclusive.
After great performances of many South American athletes in several sports, Pajon knows that their performance was an important boost for Olympic sport in the region.
"After our performance in London 2012, more companies are starting to believe in Olympic sports. More national and multinational companies are interested to support the athletes," Pajon said.
In London 2012, Colombia had the best Olympic performance in history. Eight medals were achieved in a nation that it has a tradition to only follow football, boxing, and cycling.
Pajon recognized that these medals were fundamental for the new Olympic movement in Colombia when she added: "The eight medals we achieved for Colombia, as well as other countries in the region, is showing the market this is a good area to invest."
London 2012 means more than her gold medal in BMX. It has a very special meaning for her as we were able to feel every time she talked about London 2012.
For Pajon, London 2012 means a change in sports history in Colombia and especially for all Olympic sports in her native country.
"London 2012 made major changes not only on BMX but the other sports we got medals. It was sad because the tracks were badly damaged. They weren't on an international level.
"We didn't have a decent track to train in Colombia. We had to travel to France to prepare because they have a similar track to London. After London, the mayor of my city, Medellin, Anibal Gaviria with President Juan Manuel Santos promised us a professional track. We now have a supercross track similar to the best BMX tracks."
Pajon is happy with the new tracks, but she knows it's not enough to best prepare for Rio 2016 as she added: "We need at least two or more tracks. What is happening in Colombia after London 2012 it's great for the sport; Rio 2016 is encouraging investment in other countries. That will give us the opportunity to do great things in 2016."
Rio 2016 is two years away, but Pajon is very competitive and she wants to defend her medal in Rio. During off season of the BMX Pro-Tour, Pajon is having special trainings to get at the highest level.
"If I want to retain the gold, I have to work harder. I'm participating in all the BMX tours, and when I'm not in tournaments, I train in hot and humid places. Rio is a very hot place. To retain the gold I have to work hard."
Many might consider that Rio still far away for Pajon and many outcomes can happen in two years, but Pajon knows she has a rival who's doing the same to win gold in Rio 2016.
"I know Caroline Buchanan, is preparing the same. She wants to win the gold that she didn't in London, but I will do everything to retain the gold for Colombia. I'm training 10 hours a day. Many might say that I'm exaggerating, but I want to be the best I have to train very hard."