Raised in Burnham-on-Sea, Liam Phillips is one of the world’s leading BMX riders, having appeared at both the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games. His first European title arrived in 1999, while in 2013 he was crowned BMX World Champion. This year has again been a hugely successful one for the 26-year-old who became the first rider to win back-to-back BMX World Cup titles when he took a second series win in South Carolina last September.
Find out more about Liam on his profile here
I’ve had some success over the last few years in BMX but I’ve been to two Olympics and not won a medal yet.
I don’t want to go to Rio just to make up the numbers – I want to be competitive and I’m looking to go there and perform how I have done over the past few seasons.
If I do that, I will be in the mix for medals and that is what I’m focused on.
Year by year I felt I’ve grown as an athlete, from going to Beijing in 2008 as a 19-year-old to the home Olympic Games in London and now I’m excited to see what this summer holds.
As per London, our pre-Rio holding camp is in Manchester. Because of the physical demands of our sport, we need to be riding BMX regularly to keep in touch with the bike.
There’s no better place to be than Manchester and it gives us access to exactly the same stuff that we’ve been used to for such a long time.
That is something me and Kyle Evans, the other BMX rider selected for Team GB, enjoy – I would rather be at home surrounded by people I’m usually surrounded by rather than going off to a specific holding camp in some other location.
I fly out to Rio on August 11, which is really late – six days after the Opening Ceremony – but I’m not competing until right at the end of the Olympics.
A lot of athletes will be done by then but I’m still looking forward to it. Regardless of my focus on BMX, if I had a choice I would compete on day one and then enjoy the whole Olympic experience.
I love the Olympics and always have done so if it was down to me I would spend the whole time there watching other sports and trying to support my teammates.
It’s quite frustrating that we’re so far at the end that we don’t get to experience the Olympics as much as I’d like.
That’s a small price to pay in the grand scheme of things though and Rio will still be an incredible experience. I can’t wait.