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BMX riders look to next Olympics
Roger Vaughan
02:12 AEST Mon Aug 13 2012

Within minutes of their London Olympics ending, they were thinking about Rio.

Australian BMX riders Sam Willoughby, Caroline Buchanan and Lauren Reynolds experienced the full range of emotions with their results at the London Games.

Willoughby was outstanding with his silver medal, Buchanan was shattered after finishing fifth and Reynolds knows she can do a lot better than the semi-finals.

All five members of the Australian BMX team made their Olympic debut and for this trio, they are determined London will not be their last.

Khalen Young announced his retirement immediately after his Games ended in the semi-finals.

Brian Kirkham is 26 and, while he failed to reach the semis, he showed in the last two years he has plenty to still offer.

But there is no doubt where Willoughby, Buchanan and Reynolds want to be in 2016.

"I guess I get on that plane back home soon and start preparing for four years' time in Rio," Buchanan said.

She had qualified fastest and dominated the early rounds, but paid dearly for a bad start in the final.

Colombian Mariana Pujon won the gold medal ahead of New Zealander Sarah Walker, while Dutch rider Laura Smulders was third.

Willoughby was the opposite to Buchanan, recovering from sketchy form in the quarter-finals to power through the semis and then challenge Latvian legend Maris Strombergs in the final.

But Strombergs was too good as he successfully defended his Olympic title, while Colombian Carlos Oquendo won the bronze medal.

Willoughby's near-miss was the first Olympic BMX medal for Australia.

The national program has shown massive improvement in the last four years under head coach Wade Bootes, with Buchanan and Willoughby winning world titles earlier this year.

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