Sam Webster and Shane Archbold are both similar and different riders. Both sprinters, they ply their trade on two different surfaces over radically different distances. Despite that difference, they do have one other thing in common. Their Olympic memories began in the swimming pool courtesy of Danyon Loader.
Sam Webster is one of the fastest men in the world, in the fastest team in the world. You will see him sitting second wheel in the men’s team sprint with teammate Ethan Mitchell in front, and Eddie Dawkins behind. Together they go upwards of 62kph over 750m.
Shane Archbold is part of a Bora-Argon18 lead out train that champions Irish sprinter Sam Bennett in the fast finishes. To win it takes eight riders over the course of 160km+ to secure the win for one man. There is argy bargy, there are elbows, pushing and shoving, and 200 other riders also there at 60kph all trying to do the same thing for their sprinters.
Here, Shane and Sam share their identical earliest Olympic memories:
Shane: I can remember being at home in Timaru when I was 7 years old and watching Danyon Loader win 2 gold medals in Atlanta at 1996 olympics. It is a vague memory but definitely the start of my Olympic journey which took 16 years to make it to London. It also appeals to me in the fact that he was also born in Timaru.
Sam: My earliest Olympic memory is of Danyon Loader racing at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. I was 5 years old and can remember sitting with mum and dad and watching his races and podium ceremonies. That was the first time I really began to understand the pride associated with a country and how much it means to hear your country’s anthem play on the podium.
If you were going to go to the Olympics but you couldn’t go as a cyclist what alternative Olympic sport would you be attracted to and why?
Shane: I guess if i was to think I was going to be an olympian in another code it would have to be freestyle wrestling. This sport is still close to me, and one I enjoy watching as I was a national wrestling champion as a kid and competed for 4 years in the sport.
Sam: If I could choose another sport to go to the Olympics in, it would be athletics in either 400m or 4×400. Brutal, technical but still fast. But by no means do I have any prowess at running. (Last time I went for a run was in 2011 at Outward Bound).
Sam Webster photo: Guy Swarbrick