Sarah Walker (BMX rider)

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Sarah Walker
Podium female.jpg
Walker (right) at the 2007 Supercross World Cup
Personal information
Full name Sarah Louise Walker
Nickname Shazza
Born (1988-07-10) 10 July 1988 (age 30)[1]
New Zealand
Height 1.76 m (5 ft 9 in)[1]
Weight 74 kg (163 lb)
Team information
Current team Team NZ
Discipline BMX
Role Racer
Rider type Off road

Sarah Walker (born 10 July 1988) is a New Zealand BMX racer of Māori and European descent. A competitor at the 2008 and 2012 Summer Olympics, she won silver in the Women's BMX at the latter event. Missing out on selection for the 2016 Summer Olympics due to injury, she was elected onto the IOC Athletes' Commission during those Games.

Private life

Walker was born in Whakatane in the Bay of Plenty, and grew up in nearby Kawerau.[2] Of Māori descent,[3] she attended Kawerau South School[2] and Trident High School in Whakatane.[4]

BMX career

Walker took up BMX due to sibling rivalry; she wanted to be able to do what her younger brother could do, and do it better than him.[5] In the 2008 season UCI Rounds, Walker won seven races, came second in one race and didn't race two races. She was ranked number one in the world by the UCI in 2008,[6] and was one of the favourites to win the BMX women's event at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, in the end she finished fourth.[5] Walker has won a total of twelve New Zealand 20" titles from 1999 to 2011.

On 25 July 2009, Walker won the BMX World Championship in Adelaide, Australia in both the Elite Women and the Elite Cruiser Women events.[7][8]

At the 2010 BMX World Championship in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, Walker finished second in the Elite Women's event, with first place going to Shanaze Reade. A crash during the Elite Cruiser event meant that Walker was not able hold on to her 2009 championship title.[9]

In 2011, Walker made the podium in three out of four World Cup events to win the overall World Cup title, winning the Papendal Supercross in the Netherlands, second at the Test Event in London and third in South Africa. The fourth event was in USA where she finished sixth.[citation needed]

At the 2012 Supercross in Norway, Walker dislocated her shoulder, which almost put her out of contention for the Olympics in London. After six weeks, she had to qualify for the Olympics at the World Championships in Birmingham, England where she did so with a fifth place in the semi final.[10]

At the September 2014 UCI BMX Supercross World Cup race in California, Walker had a fall and suffered a serious head injury.[11] Whilst her helmet cam recorded her calmly giving detailed accounts to medical staff of what happened to her, she has no recollection of the entire day. She had daily headaches for the next six weeks, and it was five months before she received medical clearance.[5] As of February 2016, Walker has experienced a total of 15 fractures during her BMX career.[12]

As well as competing in BMX events around the world, Walker has also been the marketing face for Beef + Lamb New Zealand since 2008.[13] She is a sponsored rider for Avanti Bikes, using their line of ABD BMX bikes when racing.[1]

Olympic career

Walker wanted to become an Olympic athlete ever since watching New Zealand swimmer Danyon Loader receiving his gold medals at the 1996 Summer Olympics.[5] She was about to start track cycling and quit BMX when it was announced as an Olympic sport for the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing,[5] and this was the first Games she attended, competing in the women's BMX. In the medals race, she ran a time of 38.805, finishing fourth. In the same event at the 2012 Summer Olympics she got a silver medal, with a time of 38.644.[5] She missed being nominated for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro due to breaking her arm during training in February 2016.[5] During the Rio Games, it was announced that she had been elected onto the IOC Athletes' Commission; whilst initially missing out to Yelena Isinbayeva, president Thomas Bach proposed that Walker be added to the group.[14]

Sponsorship and advertising work

Walker is an ambassador for Beef and Lamb New Zealand, alongside other athlete ambassadors Lisa Carrington, Eliza McCartney and Sophie Pascoe.[15]


  1. ^ a b c "Sarah Walker: Queen of the Track". Avanti. Retrieved 23 August 2016.
  2. ^ a b Shanks, Katee (24 September 2012). "Kawerau out in force to welcome Sarah Walker home". Rotorua Daily Post. Retrieved 19 September 2013.
  3. ^ " presents: The 21 Most Influential Maori in 2010". 23 December 2010. Retrieved 21 August 2016.
  4. ^ Caspari, Abigail (5 September 2005). "Riding her way to success". Rotorua Daily Post. Retrieved 19 September 2013.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g Rattue, Chris (26 February 2016). "BMX star takes battering but won't be broken". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 23 August 2016.
  6. ^ "2008 UCI BMX rankings: Individual Ranking - Women Elite. Overall Ranking". Union Cycliste Internationale. 5 June 2008. Retrieved 23 August 2016.
  7. ^ "Kiwi wins World BMX crown". 25 July 2009. Retrieved 7 November 2011.
  8. ^ "BMX: Walker double world champ". The New Zealand Herald. New Zealand Press Association. 27 July 2009. Retrieved 7 November 2011.
  9. ^ "Sarah Walker claims silver at BMX world champs". 1 August 2010. Retrieved 7 November 2011.
  10. ^ "BMX: No medal but plenty of relief for Sarah Walker". The New Zealand Herald. 27 May 2012. Retrieved 23 August 2016.
  11. ^ "Injury woes return for BMX rider Sarah Walker". Newshub. 27 September 2014. Retrieved 22 August 2016.
  12. ^ Rattue, Chris (25 February 2016). "15 bone breaks and a new double fracture but Sarah Walker still thinks she'll get to Rio Olympics". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 23 August 2016.
  13. ^ "Sports Ambassador: Sarah Walker". Beef + Lamb New Zealand. Retrieved 23 August 2016.
  14. ^ "Rio Olympics 2016: Sarah Walker elected to the IOC athletes' commission". The New Zealand Herald. 22 August 2016. Retrieved 22 August 2016.
  15. ^ "Rio Olympics 2016: McCartney becomes an Iron Maiden". The New Zealand Herald. 5 October 2016. Retrieved 7 October 2016.
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