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I read with interest this week that technical outdoor clothing brand, Showers Pass, has just signed up track cyclist and Olympic silver medalist, Ryan Owens, as its latest Brand Ambassador.
A reserve for Rio 2016, Ryan went on to bag a British Olympic record and silver medal at Tokyo in 2021 in the men’s team sprint. He now has his sights set on securing a place at the Paris Olympics in 2024, where he is hoping to add to his already impressive medals collection.
When I compare Ryan’s early life to mine there are some clear differences that it’s worth noting.
With both his dad and grandad having raced competitively, it’s no surprise that Ryan took to the pedals from the age of 11, and then started competing in races himself by age 16. Whilst I don’t believe my dad, either of my grandads, or indeed anyone in my immediate family have ever raced competitively, it’s certainly true that I was on a bike regularly at 11 years old. Daily, in fact, as it was my transport-of-choice for delivering the newspapers around the village where I grew up. I was also still cycling at age 16, though the only races that I was in were trying to get to school on time after I’d slept through my alarm. Again.
Whilst Ryan’s late teens were dominated by increased speed, amassing race silverware and securing track records, mine were more focused on somewhat mediocre academic results, attempts to secure alcohol, and an increasing awareness (and appreciation) of girls.
The upshot of this is that Ryan is an Olympic athlete and strong contender for gold in Paris 2024. And me? Well, I’m a recreational cyclist (at best) and an armchair enthusiast of the Games.
I’m looking forward to following Ryan’s progress towards Paris and wish him all the best. For more information on Ryan, check out the Showers Pass website here.