Cycling Niki’s Got A Lot Going On
For many riders a broken pedal is a problem. For Niki Gudex it was the start of a promising career.
Three years ago Gudex was looking to get fit after a serious back injury put a premature end to her snowboarding aspirations. So she bought a bike, went for a ride but broke down almost instantly, forcing the beautiful 24-year-old model to find a bike shop and repair the pedal. Gudex takes up the story that got her into downhill and cross-country bike racing. “It was a freak thing,” she said. “I broke a pedal and ended up in a bike shop looking to repair it. They asked me if I raced. I said I didn’t and that’s how I got into it. It was just a chain of events.”
Today, Gudex, who was recently named Inside Sport magazine’s Sexiest Sportswoman in Australia, is preparing for the Australian National Series in September where she will compete in both the downhill and cross-country events. Last year the final year Wollongong University graphics design student won the downhill component. But now she has a different aim. “I’m training towards Athens, that’s my goal,” Gudex said. “It’s definitely a long term goal for me.” But before she can get to Greece, Gudex has to cope with the adulation that comes with her “sexiest sportswoman” tag. It’s a title the former St Ives High School student won after out-polling Olympians Tatiana Grigorieva, Giaan Rooney, Cathy Freeman, Australian soccer player Amy Taylor and winter Olympian Alisa Camplin. “It’s a compliment to be given an award like that,” Gudex said. “When you are racing you are covered in mud and how you look is the last thing on your mind. But I like modelling, it’s fun. It’s good to keep yourself challenged. I like to have a mixture of these things going on.”
Growing up in suburban Wahroonga, Gudex said she didn’t get a chance to do any bike riding. “I wish,” she said when asked if she ever rode a BMX as a kid. There wasn’t that many girls riding bikes.” Despite her late introduction to the sport, Gudex competed at last year’s World Championships in Colorado where she finished 21st and now has her sights set on the North American circuit next April, before the World Cup events start in May.
Last June Gudex won the Wollongong University Blue Award and the University’s Sportsperson of the Year Award.
Profile: Jason Avedissian. "Cycling Niki’s Got A Lot Going On" North Shore Times, 16th August 2002