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Olympic cyclist overcomes the odds

SFU student Jasmin Glaesser will go for the gold at the London Summer Olympics. (PHOTO SUBMITTED)

SFU student Jasmin Glaesser will go for the gold at the London Summer Olympics. (PHOTO SUBMITTED)

Simon Fraser University student Jasmin Glaesser is getting ready to hit the cycling oval at the upcoming London Olympics in the women's team pursuit cycling race. Her Games appearance comes after beating the odds and rising from a track career cut short prematurely.

The 20-year-old, one of three riders on the team, developed into a world-class cyclist in only three years, however, her road to London was far from smooth.

The Coquitlam resident suffers from hyper-mobility, which means her limbs have a far greater range of motion. She is also prone to chronic joint pain.

As a teen, she regularly competed as a long-distance runner in school track events, but eventually the strain on her body took its toll. In 2008, doctors ordered her to stop running permanently.

"She experienced pain whenever she ran," her mother, Andrea Glaesser, told 24 hours. "She was so disappointed about her injury."

However, Glaesser the younger soon discovered a new passion. Her father leant her his mountain bike, hoping to give her a new hobby. Initially, she was reluctant to ride but within nine months she was sold on the sport.

She soon purchased her own bike and began a grueling training routine requiring her to ride up and down Burnaby Mountain six consecutive times.

In 2009, she entered in her first competitive race. She now has two silver medals, one from the World Track Cycling Championships in Australia earlier this year, and another secured at the World Cup in London, the Games' official qualifying event.

"I'm very proud she really could achieve it in such a short amount of time," said Andrea Glaesser of her daughter who is now training in England.

Catch the team pursuit cyclists' qualifier event Aug. 3 on CTV.

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