Friday we headed to the opening day of the track racing and ended up getting into the Laoshan Velodrome with the Taylor Phinney Phan Club. Apart from having the best name ever for a fan club, the members weren’t bad, either, headed by Taylor’s dad, Davis, and mum Connie Carpenter-Phinney – both former pro cyclists, which means some pretty fast genes for Taylor.
Just 18 years old, ‘Mini Phinney’ is already the 2007 and 2008 junior world champion in the individual pursuit, but senior Olympic level was going to be a whole different ball game.
If the enthusiasm of his fan club – sorry, phan club, which was made up of a multitude of family and friends in their ‘Go ‘T’!’ t-shirts – was being awarded a medal, they would have got nothing less than gold. But Taylor held his own, putting in a performance beyond his years to qualify for the next round with the seventh best time of the eight qualifiers. And his personal crowd quite rightly went wild.
Later today as I write this, the individual pursuit medal will be decided, and it will be interesting to see if Phinney can squeeze onto the podium. And if it’s not the case at this Olympics, not many would bet against him at London 2012. This is one real talent to watch.
Phinney came by the Oakley Safehouse the other day to hang out and try his hand at Rock Band on the Nintendo Wii. All we’ll say is, stick to the cycling, Taylor…
Taylor Phinney's world record 3K ride
And the torrential storm of top-class athletes has continued here. Thursday night’s Kung Fu and Sushi Party ensured that the already chilled-out atmosphere became positively horizontal as Brazilian track and field athletes took on Chinese archery teams at air hockey, and impromptu World Cups sprang up around the table football, all fuelled by a few well-earned beers. And sushi, of course, although there was a serious lack of kung fu going on.
Want a limited edition Olympic gold or bronze Oakley Holeshot watch? Ask Cancellara how he got his
On the cycling side, men's time trial gold medallist and road race bronze medallist Fabian Cancellara rocked up towards the end to drink a Corona or two, to show off his two medals and to take receipt of both a gold and bronze special edition Oakley Holeshot watch.
Fabian Cancellara used Swiss precision to take gold in the men's time trial, and earn his Swiss-made Oakley watch
Everyone enjoys getting free stuff, especially when it’s limited edition, and that includes Olympic-level athletes, too.
Apart from shooting the breeze with Cancellara, we've had access to the absolute top names in the sport, and you can read our exclusive interviews with them in next month’s issue of Procycling.