Phillip Thomson August 12, 2012
Canberrans watching the fortunes of Caroline Buchanan at the Tuggeranong Vikings club in the early hours of Saturday morning. Photo: Gary Pettett
THE TEARS of one of Canberra's biggest Olympic medal hopes were replicated 17,000 kilometres away early yesterday morning as BMX time-trial world champion Caroline Buchanan failed to win a medal.
It was 1.45am in Canberra and the apparent temperature was 0.1 degrees outside the Tuggeranong Vikings club.
Inside the venue there were 40 fans, many dressed in Australian gold, watching a giant television screen.
Most were members of the Vikings BMX Club and while they were happy to watch the races, they were there for a specific piece of business: to see Buchanan's race.
She was widely tipped to win the gold medal after she had blitzed the preliminary rounds.
That was if she started the race well, of course.
She didn't, however, and the hurt she experienced at coming fifth was shared by her supporters in Canberra, the city which claims her as its own.
Buchanan is a life member of the Vikings BMX Club, which the 21-year-old joined at age five, according to the club's president, Gary Pettett.
Mr Pettett said Canberra's BMX-loving youngsters had joined the sport simply because of Buchanan's presence.
''Not just the girls, but boys as well,'' Mr Pettett said. Two weeks before she travelled to London she had showed off her Olympic bikes to young members of the club.
''She's wonderful with the kids,'' Mr Pettett said.
''It was heart wrenching for us [to watch Buchanan's race].
''Everyone was in shock when she missed the gate.
''We had people with tears in their eyes.''