The Olympic round up: A week in review

29 December 2014 / 11:02

Sir Bradley Wiggins says his sights are firmly set on Rio 2016 after a year that saw him clinch World Championship gold and silver on the track at the Commonwealth Games.

It was a mixed bag for the seven-time Olympic medallist though, who returned to the track after missing out on selection for the Tour de France.

And, after taking on the role of elder statesman during the men’s team pursuit in Glasgow, Wiggins admits the prospect of another Olympic title is keeping him motivated.

“I want to leave a legacy that goes beyond 2012,” said Wiggins.

“The Commonwealth Games was also a real saving grace for me.

“The guys in our group – people like Ed Clancy – are almost young kids to me, and the way they looked up to me, gave me so much respect and said such nice things about me in public gave me renewed motivation.

“It was so nice, fathering them through that process. Even though we lost in the gold medal race, it marked a starting point for the next two years in the build-up to Rio.

“In some ways, it was better losing in Glasgow – it gave us an incentive to improve, and for me it was literally a silver lining in more ways than one.”

And, while Wiggins might be focused on claiming gold on the track in 2016, double Olympic champion Geraint Thomas believes Britain can claim an historic first-ever cycling men’s road race gold in Rio.

“As a country, we’re the strongest we’ve ever been,” Thomas told Cyclingnews. “I’m really looking forward to racing the Olympics. They’re a massive global event and I’m really looking forward to it.

“It should be good. I think Britain, with myself, Pete [Kennaugh] – depending on if he rides the track or the road – [Ben Swift] Swifty, [Ian] Stannard, and [Luke] Rowe we’ve got a good core of riders for that sort of course.”

Elsewhere, Holly Bleasdale says that after a self-imposed exile from pole vault competition she is ready to return with a bang.

The 23-year-old opted to take a rest from competition following the World Indoor Championships in March and believes she can now make a real impact in the World Championships in Beijing.

“It appears now more than ever what a good decision it was. I’m fit, healthy and I’m getting quicker and stronger. I’m building some really good fitness ahead of what is going to be a really important year for me,” she said.

“The main aim is to stay fit and healthy, but I think we’ve got that nailed down now. I’ve struggled with one injury that had been lingering, but that’s out of my head.

“I’m looking to regain fitness. I want to be successful at the Beijing World Championships. At previous worlds, I’ve either not been there or underperformed, so doing well there is my major target, apart from staying fit and well.”

In hockey, England men’s head coach Bobby Crutchley believes his team have made significant strides in 2014 and is charting a similar course in the New Year.

With Olympic qualification around the corner Crutchley wants the squad to build on their Commonwealth bronze and produce the goods on the biggest stage.

“2014 has been a big improvement from the previous year,” Crutchley told the official England Hockey website. “I feel that the whole group have made significant strides.

“If you take into account the fourth-place finish at the World Cup and a bronze at the Commonwealth Games I think we are slightly ahead of the curve of success we have been working towards as we continue to build up to the Olympic qualifiers next year and Rio in 2016.”

And, after being crowned as GB Taekwondo’s Player of the Year for 2014, Olympic champion Jade Jones says she is delighted with the progress she has made as she builds up to the defence of her crown in Rio.

“It’s always nice to collect awards and this one is especially pleasing because there were so many good candidates in the GB Academy set-up,” said Jones, who finishes another successful 12 months ranked second in the world.

“I have had my near misses this year but I have always trained hard and knew the rewards would come eventually. So, I am happy with the progress I am making, especially with the Rio Olympics only 18 months away.”

© Sportsbeat 2014