Topic: Sarah Walker

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Sarah Walker, BMX World Champion and Olympic silver medalist was raised in Kawerau.

Sarah was born at Whakatane Hospital on 10 July 1988. Growing up in Kawerau, Sarah attended Kawerau Preschool Learning Centre from 3½ years old until starting school at Kawerau South School in 1993 which she attended until 1999. During her time at South School Sarah accepted any challenge, both sporting and academic; she was in the South netball teams, school band, hockey, Weet-bix triathlon, and club triathlons. She was a swimming and cross country champion, and attended Brownies and Girl Guides. 

In 1999 Sarah’s brother Matt (younger by 20 months) received a BMX bike for his birthday and started going to Tauranga to race each Wednesday evening. Sarah was challenged that Matt was doing something she wasn’t. Before long they both shared the same bike and Sarah was beating the other female riders who had been riding and winning national titles for years. 

Her Intermediate years were spent at Putauaki Full Primary School (2000/2001). Sarah continued to play hockey, attended BMX races from Taupo north most weekends and was gaining fame in BMX with her natural talent and skills. Sarah spent a week at the Australian Institute of Sport (both years) with the New Zealand BMX team and raced in several events in Australia as an 11 and 12 year old. 

As her Dad, Graham, was a Physical Education teacher at Trident High School, it was logical that she also attended there from 2002 until 2006. During this time Sarah kept on striving for excellence in all areas of her academic and sporting achievements. In Year 9 and 10, she gained top marks in Music, Art, Science, Technology, Information Management and Physical Education. Sarah was in the Multi-sport team, mountain biking and represented the school in volleyball, athletics, swimming and hockey. She was also a member of the School Band for two years, before BMX commitments took over.

Late in 2005 Sarah was being noticed internationally for her cycling skills and later that year was asked to be part of the New Zealand BMX National squad. The coach was an Australian, Grant White, who wanted the athletes to train and live in Newcastle in Australia. Through BMX, Sarah won a 21 day Outward Bound Scholarship, which she attended in late 2005, this was a defining experience and she realized what her career could be. Sarah moved to Australia in April 2006 but returned to New Zealand in October 2007 when her coach and mentor decided to move on. Bike New Zealand took some time to find a replacement and so the build up to the Beijing Olympics was stressful at times.

Sarah Walker Beijing 2008Six months prior to the 2008 Olympics, a Canadian, Ken Cools, was selected as her new coach. Sarah’s fourth placing at the Beijing Olympics was an experience for her to remember and build upon for the future. On 25 July 2009, Sarah won the BMX World Championship in Adelaide, Australia in both the Elite Women and the Elite Cruiser Women events.

Sarah returned to New Zealand and moved to Cambridge – a more central location for riding a variation of BMX tracks, gym sessions, the Millennium Institute of Sport in Auckland and locality to family and friends. Since 2008, she has trained with more support personnel around her and a partner, Ian, who is also an Elite athlete with New Zealand Rowing. In the 2010 BMX World Championship in South Africa, Sarah came in second place in the Elite Women. At the 2011 London Test event UCI BMX Supercross World Cup Sarah came 2nd and came first at the Supercross World Cup in Papendal. Sarah earned a well deserved silver Olympic medal in London with a time of 38.644.

Sarah Walker, Silver Medallist

For more information on Sarah have a look at her personal website.



Tags: Sarah Walker

Sarah Walker

First Names:Sarah
Last Name:Walker
Place of Birth:Whakatane