Wed 10 Jun 2020
Becoming a professional athlete is certainly not easy, there’s always many ups and downs and it requires a lot of self motivation, sacrafice and resilience. No athlete can ever achieve great things completely on their own, there’s always a support team on every level, and those people are often in the background, the #UnsungHeroes!
For part 3, we asked current Australian Champion Amanda Spratt to shed some light on the person that helped her develop her passion for cycling and become the champion she is today.
Can you name one person that had a large impact on helping you to start your career?
“My Dad had a huge impact in helping me start my career. Both my Dad and my Pop (Grandad) used to ride and race so he is the reason I started cycling.”
What exactly did he do to help you?
“I have a really supportive family and I know that there is no way I could be where I am at now without their support. When I was 9 years old Dad took my brother Nick and I to the local BMX club to have a try. When I was 12 years old he took us to have a go at the Penrith Cycling Club and although I was terrible in my first race I really fell in love with the sport and haven’t looked back since.
“It’s fun to think back to the BMX days and travelling most weekends to either race at our local club or to an open event somewhere in New South Wales. During the week Dad (and Mum) would take us to practice gate starts, jumps and other technical skills at a track one hour away. Once we started road and track it was much the same.”
Why was that so important to you in making you who you are today?
“I think I wouldn’t be where I am today without the support from my Dad. Cycling can be an expensive sport as well as all the trips away to compete. Dad also looked after my training in my first years as well. I didn’t train a lot but he made it fun and I have such great memories of our family bike rides around the Blue Mountains.
“As Nick (Amanda’s brother) and I started to get stronger we would have tactical meetings on the road about where we were going to attack each other and make our next move. I realise now that all these moments and things we did together really helped to shape the person and cyclist I am today.”
Do you think you would be as good as you are today without his help?
“Definitely not. Dad introduced me to this sport and shared his passion for it with me. I really love cycling; for me it’s not just a job. The first reason I ride my bike I because it brings me joy and I think that is something Dad and I share.”
Can you name a specific moment/memory that you have of him helping you that stands out?
“I still remember driving down to Sydney with Dad to get my first road bike. He saw an ad in the Trading Post newspaper for a white Giant bike for sale and the next day we were off to see how it was. A white and cream coloured bike with a pair of shoes thrown in for free and I was the most excited girl in the world.”
Does he still have an impact on your career today?
“Yes I think my Dad will always have an impact on my career. I know he follows it closely all year round and will often make observations from races that he does watch about me or other riders. He’s also still very fit so keeps me on my toes when I’m back in Aus. That’s one thing I also love about cycling; the fact that it’s such a social sport and people of all different ages can go out for a spin together. Riding with my Dad and Nick is something I still do 20 years later.”
Do you think he is proud of you?
“Yes I think so. It’s been great to be able to share some of my biggest victories or moments in this sport with Dad, like my World Championships medals and my National Titles.”
Do you think he realises how much he assisted you in building your career?
“I hope so. As I said, I know I wouldn’t be where I am today and with the same opportunities if I hadn’t had such a supportive Dad and family.”
What traits does he have that inspire you?
“I think my Dad inspires a lot of people. He’s 67 years old but still regularly makes everyone suffer on the local bunch rides. And you certainly don’t want to be up against him in a bunch sprint. I’m inspired by his perseverance, resilience and passion.”
Has he been to any watch any of your professional races?
“Yes Dad and Mum were both at the World Championships in Bergen, Innsbruck and Yorkshire. They also come to Nationals every year and have now added the Tour Down Under to their trips as well. It’s been so special to share these moments together.”
Thanks Mr Spratt!