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“I truly believe that after the world championships campaign, I can say that I believe I can win an Olympic gold medal.”

COVER PIC: Anthony Dean competing at the 2019 UCI BMX World Championships in Heusden-Zolder, Belgium (pic courtesy of Craig Dutton Photography).

Rio Olympic BMX finalist Anthony Dean is back on home soil and will compete in stage five of the 2019 BMXA BAD BOY National Series at The Cove BMX Club in Adelaide this weekend (August 24) as he continues his road to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

The 28-year old, who spends the majority of his time in Corona, California, has come home to spend some time with family and friends after his impressive performance at the 2019 UCI BMX World Championships in Heusden-Zolder, Belgium.

Recording some of the fastest laps of the day in the elite men’s category, Dean was the pick of the riders heading into the final as he lined up against some of his potential Olympic competitors, before falling on the first turn and finishing sixth.

Elite Men Final | 2019 UCI BMX World Championships

📺 Watch the Elite Men’s Final at the 2019 UCI BMX World Championships!

Posted by UCI BMX Supercross on Sunday, July 28, 2019

 

Whilst Dean missed out on the podium and a potential world title, the South Australian remains confident with his performance and looks to bigger and better events in the future.

“Worlds was a huge confidence boost for me,” Dean said.

“When I was getting ready for the final, I was just trying to keep the nerves down and channel my mind, not letting it get to me that it’s the final.

“I missed the start a little bit and it put me in the middle of the pack. I believe if I didn’t miss the start, I would’ve gotten out in front and put me in the running to win the race.

“I was in the wrong place at the wrong time and I blame that on myself. But even though I missed out on the podium, I have taken a lot of confidence from worlds and I can bring that with me into the Olympic year.”

Reflecting upon Rio 2016, Dean understands that this Olympics will be different. Qualification for the Olympics is a tough process and at this stage, Australia is only looking likely to send one rider, which means as one of Australia’s front runners, that falls onto Dean’s shoulders.

“Our rankings aren’t going well, so this year, it is more about getting there,” Dean continued.

“It means there is a lot of pressure on myself and Kai (Sakakibara) to really compete for that position, but that means that you’re not really going to be able to prepare for the Olympics until you get selected.

“It’s not ideal for myself or Australia when other countries will be able to focus on the racing itself.

“I remember the last Olympics as the best shape I have ever been in. I could really focus on the racing and I was really proud to represent Australia.

“It was just about performing, and I put my distraction aside. I won all my races until the final and the pressure finally hit me and Sam (Willoughby).”

After his performance in Rio, and using his success at the recent world championships, Dean has been working harder than ever on the mental side of performance in sport and is ready to don the green and gold once again if he represents Australia in Tokyo, with belief being more important than ever.

“I truly believe that after the world championships campaign and working with Sam as my coach on all aspects of BMX, I can say that I believe I can win a gold medal.

“If I was asked that question 12 months ago, I would be lying if I said I could. But after worlds, I truly believe I can.”

With Dean’s belief well and truly on target for Tokyo 2020, his attention now turns to stage six of the national series in his home state this weekend.

Almost 300 riders plus their supporters will descend on the Hallett Cove BMX track on Saturday for another opportunity to showcase Australia’s BMX racing and who better to lead the excitement than one of Australia’s premier riders.

“It’s not usual for me to compete in the national series,” Dean said.

“Not because I don’t want to, but because everything else I do doesn’t align with it. I can’t attend the national championships because of world cups and due to the fact I spend most of my time in USA, it’s hard for me to come home and compete.

“But because the stage is in my backyard and my preparation for the Olympics is going well, I’m going to try my best and support it… happy days right?”

While there won’t be any UCI categories for Dean to compete in on Saturday, he will line up on the superclass gate, alongside some of Australia’s male riders aged 15 and above.

Ready to give Dean a race to remember is his fellow Rio Olympian Bodi Turner and home dirt hero, the 2015 junior elite men’s time trial world champion Shane Rosa.

After the action on Saturday, Dean will return to the USA on August 27 with his mind back on world cup racing before he returns to Australia for the first two world cup rounds of the 2020 season.