Photos: Laurence Crossman-Emms and Yasmeen Green
Two stories from R-atherton
- Rachel Atherton has been nominated for a Laureus World Sports Award, she’ll be the first female mountain biker to ever be nominated.
- Rachel has also announced she’ll be sponsoring the Junior Women’s Categories at the BDS.
Rachel Atherton nominated for Laureus World Sports Award
Reigning World Champion and World Cup Overall Champion Rachel Atherton has been nominated for a Global Sports Award by Laureus, along with 5 other British Sports stars including Lewis Hamilton, Jessica Ennis –Hill, swimmer Adam Peaty , the GB Davis Cup team and boxer Tyson Fury.
Laureus is a global organization that exists to celebrate the achievements of the world’s greatest sportspeople and to change the lives of disadvantaged children through the power of sport. The awards were founded in 2000 and the organization has a rich heritage, including international icon Nelson Mandela as a former patron.
The awards have global reach and will be broadcast live to 120 territories (that’s 120 then another 60 will take an edited show, there will also be a magazine style TV show syndicated to 100 countries and massive web and social coverage – huge exposure for the sport of Downhill.
Past winners of Laureus Awards are Usain Bolt, Novak Djokovic, Michael Schumacher, Roger Federer, Serena Williams, Rafael Nadal, Ronaldo, Kelly Slater, Shaun White, and Zinedine Zidane. Rachel will be the first ever female nominee from the world of mountain-biking (Julian Absalon, Darren Berrecloth and Danny MacAskill have been nominated in the past).
The Awards evening is in Berlin on April 18th so Rachel will be in Cairns preparing for World Cup Round 2) but the Laureus team have committed to featuring some footage of Rachel in action, bringing Downhill into a lot of living rooms across the world.
Rachel said “ I am honoured to be considered for these awards, especially alongside such extraordinary athletes, past winners of this Action Sportsperson category are my heros, Jamie Bestwick who won in 2014 is my all time hero, I did my art project on him at school, its kind of surreal! I’m stoked that Downhill is getting some of the recognition that such a rad sport deserves.”
Rachel Atherton to sponsor the Junior Women’s Categories of the British Downhill Series for the second year running
Reigning Downhill World Champion and World Cup Overall Champion Rachel Atherton has chosen to mark this year’s International Women’s Day by announcing her continuing sponsorship of the Junior Women’s Categories of the British Downhill Series.
Once again the sponsorship will be very practical, with riders offered the chance to trade their winners’ cheques for prizes from Rachel’s sponsors, often equivalent to twice or three times the value of the cheque.
Rachel said “ I love it that we have been able to give girls GoPros, brake sets and pedals from Shimano, helmets from Bell, knee pads from IXS, goggles from Oakley, everyone has been so awesome in supporting this idea! This year I’m excited that we’ll have chance to work with Trek and Bontrager for the first time, I remember when I started racing how hard it was sometimes to get together the things that I needed, I’m sure that Gee used to race in rollerblade pads! I see so many girls hampered in their racing performance by not having the correct kit or set-up but over the last year I think we’ve made a real difference.”
(Rachel’s World Cup mechanic) Joe will be on hand again to advise about set-ups and new for this year Rachel will offer an accompanied “First ride” of the track.
Rachel said “I never forget the advantage that having two big brotherswho raced gave me, now I want to repay that favour. If I can make it easier for one girl to sign up for a race it will be awesome. I love it that I’ve got to know such a great group of girls and young women this year, watching them develop and to begin to fulfill their potential is massively rewarding, quite apart from the fact that some of my favourite weekends are spent in the relaxed atmosphere of a BDS!”
Rachel’s World Cup commitments mean that she won’t race every round of the Series but she stresses that her support for “her girls” is unwavering. “ I’ll be there where I can, the relationship I have with many of these girls now transcends race day, I’ll be watching them like a hawk! The level of skill and commitment these girls are showing has definitely increased over the last year and that has to be good for the sport as a whole, I’m so excited as we go into year 2.
Rona Strivens, Overall Winner of the Junior Women’s Series said “Having Rach sponsor the category last year has helped me improve massively, it goes far beyond what you’d expect from a race sponsorship, it feels like not only Rachel but the whole Athy Racing team have our backs. It’s not only at the BDS, her encouragement and advice helped me to podium at my first World Cup in Fort William, the Junior Women are all 100% stoked to hear that Rach will be there for us through 2016.”
Si Paton, Director of the British Downhill series said,
Rachel’s vision and commitment to these young racers certainly paid dividends in 2015 and we are delighted that this initiative will continue into 2016. Entries are up again and we welcome all female athletes, I hope that the British Downhill Series and Rachel’s unique input will be a stepping stone for more British women to seize World Cup success.