- 22 Aug 08, 06:30 AM
Laoshan BMX track, Beijing
This could be the first thing Chris Hoy has got wrong in months.
Before coming to Beijing, he said that if he had to put his mortgage on anyone winning gold out here, he'd go for Shanaze Reade.
The track legend doesn't have to worry about losing his home - His Royal Hoyness can probably take his pick of Scotland's castles and palaces right now - but he might have a job to do with Shanaze later on.
The 19-year-old from Crewe, who hadn't lost a BMX final for three years before this morning, was distraught after wiping out on the last corner and seeing her medal chances disappear in a faceful of yellow dirt.
"I'm so cut up and hurt," she said afterwards, a blank look of shock on her face and a dark bloodstain spreading through the white fabric of her GB jersey around her elbow.
"I've hurt my back, I'm all cut up on my arm, I think I've done something to my hand, I've hurt my sciatic nerve and I've cut my shoulder up."
After a monstrous crash in the first leg of her semi-final, Reade had fought back brilliantly in the next two races to take her place on the start-line for the medal race.
When the gate dropped in the final, she thrashed down the ramp and away, holding a lead of a bike-length going into the first berm.
It was here that she made the key mistake, riding too high around the banked curve and allowing France's Anna-Caroline Chausson to steal up her inside and into the lead.
For three straights Chausson held a slight advantage, with Reade closing all the time - until the very last turn, when the Briton went for a desperate lunge up the inside, clipped Chausson's rear wheel and slammed into the baked earth. In that moment, her Olympic dream was over.
Afterwards the adrenaline keeping the pain at bay, she was unrepentant about her last-gasp gamble.
"Why settle for silver?" she said. "I put absolutely everything into this, my heart and my soul, everything since the age of 10.
"You don't train as hard as I do for silver. It's about the gold or nothing."
In truth, Reade's problems had their roots in an earlier gamble, right at the start of the morning's action.
Despite warnings from her coaches, she had decided that she would try to clear the third set of jumps on the course in one flying leap. If it came off, it would give her a huge advantage that would almost certainly be enough to win her the race.
Chris Boardman's view was simple - it wasn't something Shanaze needed to do. With her catapult start, massive strength and whirlwind cadence, she was already the clear favourite.
While she was the only rider in the field who would even consider the jump, it carried huge risks. If she misjudged the landing, she would almost certainly end up face down in the mud.
Reade decided to back herself, with disastrous results. Leading by a big chunk in that first heat, she cleared the jumps at too great a pace, flipped off the bike and landed heavily on her hip and shoulder.
She staggered to her feet, remounted and rode to the line, but the damage had been done, both to her body and confidence.
"They say you learn the hard way, and I guess I have," she said later, on her way to hospital for X-rays.
"But a true athlete and a true winner always comes back stronger, and I'm going to turn it round and show everyone what I'm made of."
Reade's distress apart, BMX's Olympic bow was a spectacular success.
Track fans and Hoy might still mourn the loss of the kilo, but its replacement offered an atmosphere unique to these Games.
At no other venue has the PA blasted out the unmistakable sound of Brian Johnson screeching "For Those About To Rock" moments before an Olympic final, nor seen pompom-waving cheerleaders invade the track for some high-kicking high-jinks within seconds of the competitors zooming past.
"BAAYYY-JEEENGG!" the stadium announcer kept roaring. "BAAYYY-JEEENGG CHINA! MAKE SOME NOISE! I CAN'T HEAR YOU, BAAY-JEENG!"
From the track's lumps, bumps and jumps came crash after breathtaking crash. If a race went by without a monstrous stack, I must have still had my hands over my eyes from the previous wipeout and missed it.
Dressage it wasn't. But are you telling me that's a bad thing?
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites