Three-time BMX world champion Shanaze Reade, who was raised in Crewe by her single mother and her grandparents, started riding at the age of ten. After buying her first BMX bike for £1, she fell in love with mountain biking and abandoned all other sports to concentrate on it.
In 2007 she started track cycling and, that same year, won gold at the World Championships in the women's team sprint with Victoria Pendleton. The pair won again the following year.
But Olympic success eluded Shanaze. In the 2008 Beijing Games she crashed into eventual BMX Anne-Caroline Chausson during the final. There followed a crisis of confidence.
"I felt depressed," said the 23-year-old. "I was down and I didn't want to think about or see the bike again, because it made me feel sick."
After considering quiting the sport, she sought the help of a sport psychologist and is now happy and ready for London 2012.
The biggest part of winning is about the mentality," she has said. "Everybody who gets to the Olympic final is capable of winning, so it comes down to mental strength."
The women's BMX cycling starts on 8 August