World BMX champion Caroline Buchanan returned to a welcome-home surprise at Canberra Airport on Wednesday. Photo: Zhenshi van der Klooster
She’s a five-time world champion at 22, winning her two most recent titles in different cycling disciplines in the space of 56 days.
But Canberra’s BMX world champion Caroline Buchanan has signalled her long-term ambition to become Australia’s fastest woman on two wheels, teasing she may switch to track cycling after the 2016 Rio Olympics.
I’m definitely hungry for Rio [BMX] since London and that’s still the ultimate goal, but there’s a lot more goals.Caroline Buchanan
Buchanan returned to Canberra on Wednesday morning to be greeted by friends, family and supporters after a hectic and successful two months overseas.
Caroline Buchanan shows off her newest World Championship gold medal. Photo: Charles Robertson
Last weekend’s victory at the mountain bike four-cross world titles in Austria - her third after wins in 2009 and 2010 - came after she won her maiden BMX crown in Auckland in July.
Crammed in between was a fifth place at the world mountain bike downhill titles in South Africa.
Buchanan was world BMW time trial champion last year, making her a gold medal favourite at the 2012 London Olympics, where she finished fifth.
While Buchanan’s focus is on Olympic redemption and gold at Rio in the BMX, she wants to continue challenging herself across various disciplines in a bid to become one of the greatest Australian riders of her generation.
Buchanan revealed she was contemplating a future switch to track cycling, currently dominated by Australia’s London Olympics golden girl Anna Meares.
‘‘I’m definitely hungry for Rio [BMX] since London and that’s still the ultimate goal, but there’s a lot more goals,’’ Buchanan said.
‘‘To win these two world titles and to get fifth in the downhill and be so close there ... there’s many other cycling disciplines I could have a go at.
‘‘I’d love to be able to dominate cycling in general, not just one event.
‘‘My dad comes from a track cycling background, so that may be something I do in the future.
‘‘As you get older your endurance abilities get higher, so that would be something more I could look to, less explosive events and more endurance based.’’
Buchanan was blown away to see about 50 of her most loyal supporters on hand to welcome her back to Canberra.
‘‘I walked down the stairs and I normally don’t get nervous, but I got pretty nervous and was blushing,’’ Buchanan said.
‘‘There was a whole wall of people in green and yellow balloons and my little French bulldog Diesel ran through the doors at the airport and almost up the escalators.
‘‘Now that I’m home and have two weeks here, everything’s sinking in a bit more.’’
Buchanan’s next event is a BMX race in the Caribbean in October as the countdown to qualifying for the 2016 Olympics begins.
‘‘The the biggest thing I’ve learnt is not to limit myself by the norm or what I should be doing,’’ she said.
‘‘It’s almost crazy for me to look at now, let’s do three separate sports, completely different in 56 days at opposite ends of the world and fit another race in Canada in between.
‘‘I have learnt that I’m capable of more than I know.’’