Only six mountain bikers have ever represented New Zealand in mountain biking at the Olympics:
- Kathy Lynch (1996) â€“ a diamond in the rough
- Susy Pryde (2000) â€“ the roadie powerhouse
- Kashi Leuchs (2000, 2004, 2008) â€“ the enduring professional
- Robyn Wong (2004) â€“ the surprise performer
- Rosara Joseph (2008) â€“ an intellectual speed demon
- Karen Hanlen (2012) â€“ the Whakatane rocket
What powered these six Kiwis through the mud, sweat and tears of mountain biking to race in the world’s top sporting arena? The Muddy Olympians follows these inspiring athletes â€“ five out of six of whom are women â€“ through their tumultuous careers. Along the way, it tells the story of mountain-bike racing in New Zealand as it has grown from a bunch of mates sprinting through Skippers Canyon in pursuit of an ice block, to a fierce battle for international titles and professional team contracts.
Mountain biking is still seen as the youthful, rebellious messy sport â€“ the Olympics, on the other hand, is revered as one of the world’s oldest, and most prestigious, sporting traditions. Find out what happens when six gutsy Kiwis go head to head with the world’s best, from 1996 when mountain biking first became an Olympic sport to London 2012 when Karen Hanlen raced the most important ride of her life.