Games debut worth wait for cyclist Wiasak
Rebecca Wiasak is heading quickly in the right direction for someone who thinks she's lived life in reverse.
The two-time track world champion is Australia's Commonwealth Games cycling debutant's late bloomer at 33 years old.
The sports media and law graduate originally harboured dreams of representing her country on the athletics track before a career with notepad and pen got in the way.
Admitting that she made a "pretty rubbish sports journo", Wiasak arrived as a cyclist via triathlons and announced herself with individual pursuit gold at the 2015 and 2016 world championships
Ahead of April's Games, Wiasak forms part of a six-pronged women's endurance track squad vying for four team pursuit spots.
She watched as teammates Annette Edmondson, Ashlee Ankudinoff, Amy Cure and Melissa Hoskins took almost three seconds off the world record in 2015 and was part of the silver medal team last year.
But with Edmondson, Ankudinoff and Cure all in good form and Rio Olympian Georgia Baker and emerging talent Alexandra Manly in the squad, Wiasak admits the final make-up of the side is a mystery.
"I'm a two-time world champ and you have confidence after that silver medal but you still don't know and it's a great, competitive environment without any favourites," Wiasak said.
"Two will miss out and we won't know until the day before."
Wiasak says her late entry into the sport has helped deal with the pressure to perform as Australia prioritises Commonwealth gold at Brisbane's Anna Meares Velodrome and Olympic success in Tokyo in 2020.
"I wonder if I'd still be riding now if I had started earlier," she said.
"I lived life in reverse a little bit and people ask me 'what will I do if I don't succeed', and I'll tell them I'll just keep riding, I've got a degree and it's not the end of the world whatever happens."
That's not to say the Geelong product isn't working hard to guarantee her place on the pine, with potential rides in the individual pursuit, scratch and points race also up for grabs next month.
"The last month of training has been like nothing I've ever experienced," she said.
"We're all working hard and just want the team to succeed - I was in tears when the girls broke the world record in Paris and I'm sure it'd be the same for any of us (if it happened in Brisbane)."
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