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07 Jul

Rio Olympics 2016: Nathan Hart says Games were ‘awesome’ despite heartbreaking medal miss

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Nathan Hart, right, says Rio was not as disastrous as reported. Photo: David RamosCanberra track cyclist and Rio Olympian Nathan Hart says the Games were “awesome to me” and not the disaster that has been portrayed in the media.
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The Olympic hangover has started after the well-documented failings in attendance, security and facilities, but Hart argues differently.

He went agonisingly close to claiming a bronze medal but the sprint team of Hart, Patrick Constable and Matthew Glaetzer missed by just 0.15 seconds against France.

“In my experience I don’t think it was as bad as the media made it out to be. I thought it was pretty good,” the 23-year-old said.

“Especially safety concerns, that was probably the biggest thing people in Australia were concerned about but I thought it was fine.”

Hart’s experience is a refreshing perspective that has been muffled by stories of chaos before, during and after the Games.

In particular, the venue construction received plenty of criticism but the cycling velodrome was of international standard despite being one of the last venues to be completed.

“The track I was really impressed with,” Hart said. “I think that was the last venue to be finished, the velodrome.

“We [the sprint team] got there early, just under two weeks before racing and it was a bit dusty, they were still doing a little bit of work.

“But the next time we were on the track it had been all sorted and especially when race day came around it was really good.”

Hart is back in Canberra and already back in the saddle after buying a mountain bike.

When asked if the 0.15 second margin between the Australian sprint team and a medal hurts, Hart laughed.

“A little bit actually. I’ve watched the race since coming back to Canberra and it’s disappointing but I know for a fact that three of us did everything in our power to be in the best position to win.

“That’s part of it, it keeps me hungry to train hard and try to get results later on down the track.”

Despite missing a medal, Hart walked away with a new personal best in the qualification races with a time of 17.15 seconds.

“It’s about a tenth [of a second] quicker than I’ve ever gone before which I was pretty happy with,” Hart said.

“It was good to know I turned up to Rio in the best form I’ve ever been in.”

Great Britain won gold in the event with New Zealand taking silver, France bronze and Australia fourth.

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