Millions of fans may have been left disappointed when the Olympic tickets were allocated, but the series of test events taking place across London have proved to be the perfect way to watch some of the best athletes in the world compete against one another.
Over the course of the next few months there will be plenty of opportunities to watch Olympic hopefuls and last weekend Sportsvibe were handed the chance to head to the Stratford to watch the UCI BMX Supercross World Cup.
Taking place right next door to the frankly stunning velodrome, the BMX track consists of 14,000 cubic metres of soil specifically designed to produce high jumps, plenty of bumps and a technical course that made sure only the very best would have the chance to compete for the win.
Introduced for the first time at the Beijing Olympics, BMX introduced the world to a young Crewe rider who was desperate to show the world why the sport has such a growing audience. Shanaze Reade may have suffered heartbreak in China when she fell from her bike, but three years on has firmly cemented her place as one of the favourites to medal in London.
The 22-year-old has not been able to showcase her abilities as often as she would have liked in recent months due to injury but last weekend showed why she could well be a future gold medallist.
Taking place over two days, Saturday saw both the men and women compete in a time trial format that would determine who would come back the next day for the chance to claim the win. Each rider was handed just one chance to set a fastest time which meant that one small mistake would make all the difference.
For the women only the top 32 would progress while on the mens side it was the top 64 that would have come back the next day. One a day when the wind was blowing it proved to be a difficult task with a number of riders struggling with the initial first jump after hurtling down a eight-metre high ramp to begin.
On both the mens and womens side there were casualties with a number of riders taking hard falls. However, this is a side of the event that is taken for granted with most riders more than happy to describe the long list of injuries they have suffered while coming off their BMX bikes.
Broken collarbones, fractured arms and punctured spleens are common injuries for these dare devil riders and it was no shock when a number of riders had to be helped off the course after nasty accident.
The thrills and spills certainly add to the atmosphere and with 2500 people crammed into the stands it was a great opportunity for the audience to get a taste of what the Olympics will be like in 2012.
The real fun starts when the riders compete against one another in a straight forward race to the finish line. With anywhere between four or eight riders speeding away from the starting blocks there is the inevitable clashes of arms and legs. It is all part of the sport and simply adds to the tension as the riders wait on the starting line.
While most of the crowd where cheering on Reade, many were also there to watch New Zealand's Marc Willers. The Kiwi is one of the fastest riders on the mens tour and once again proved his talent with a flawless run in the final to take the victory ahead of Joris Daudet of France and Nicholas Long of the USA.
However, it was the performance of Reade that sent people home happy as the young rider gave the capacity crowd plenty to cheer as the claimed the win ahead of New Zealand's Sarah Walker and Australia's Lauren Reynolds. The reigning world champion Mariana Pajon was just one of the riders that suffered from a heavy fall as the wind proved difficult for all of the riders.
The test event doubled up as the third round of the UCI BMX Supercross World Cup series which meant that every rider went out there determined to claim the win and deliver a message to their rivals as the Olympics draws ever closer.
Reader made it clear that she had place a huge emphasis on the test event. "For me it [the test event] ranked just as highly as the Worlds because if you can perform a year before the Olympic Games in the same site, then why can't you do it in 2012?"
It is certain that the BMX event will be one of the most exciting events to watch at London 2012 and with the possibility of a gold for Great Britain it will be one of the hottest tickets in town.
It was my first opportunity to watch BMX Supercross live and I can certainly recommend it. The action is fast and furious, there is a party atmosphere with each rider picking their own music to race to and you will gain an immediate respect for anyone traveling at 50kph down an eight metre ramp.
If Reade can deliver the same performance next year then Great Britain will have another golden girl to cheer on.
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