June 20, 2024
Andy Murray

Geordie Reilly – who sports a mullet for superstitious reasons – has added Rich Hampson, who featured in Andy Murray’s Amazon Prime documentary ‘Resurfacing’, to his team as he bids to take gold in Paris
Andy Murray
BMX freestyler Kieran Reilly has sought advice from Andy Murray’s sports psychologist in his bid for Olympic success.

The 22-year-old experienced his dream year in 2023 by claiming national, European and world titles but never saw himself as an Olympian when he started out riding bikes with friends at his local skatepark in Gateshead.
However, BMX is no longer just cool kids doing tricks and flips, Olympic status has added an appliance of science for which British Cycling – the original home of ‘marginal gains’ – is renowned.

The most recent addition to the team is the sports psychologist Rich Hampson, who featured in Murray’s Amazon Prime documentary ‘Resurfacing’. Although initially hesitant, Reilly admits that embracing working on mental side of his sport has taken his riding to the next level in the last year.

“It’s very new to me,” said Reilly. “I was sceptical at first because it’s so new to our sport and I’ve not heard of anyone else using it, so I didn’t see the benefit.

“But it’s not so much psychology, it’s more just breaking things down. Like when you say a certain trick is scary, you’re then building that image to yourself.

“When you start working with him, you realise ‘oh yeah you’re really in your own head’. Little things can have a massive impact, like doing a certain routine before you drop in so that it feels the same every time.”

Last year Reilly became the first person to land a triple flair, a gravity defying trick which saw him complete three backflips with one 180° rotation. But it’s not just endless training and sports science that Reilly credits for a breakthrough on the world stage – but his barber.

Indeed, he could be the only member of Team GB this summer to sport a classic mullet in Paris.

“Before the European Games I couldn’t get in with my barber,” said Reilly. “So, I went to a different place and he gave me a taper with no fade – he pretty much gave me a mullet by accident.

“I got some stick from the team the whole week and then I won Euros and I was like ‘alright, almost out of spite, I’m keeping this now’. Then I won worlds with the mullet, and I was like this is it. This is my good luck charm now, so I’ve said since I’m keeping it until Paris.

“I’ll see if it’ll do me the gold there as well!”

Andy Murray
The 22-year-old from Gateshead famously pulled off the world’s first gravity defying triple flair and is one to watch in Paris ( Image: Max Turner/Beat Media Group)

Reilly was speaking as an ambassador for Aldi, the official supermarket of Team GB. Aldi are exclusively partnering with Team GB ahead of Paris for their Nearest & Dearest programme, providing a dedicated space in the performance lodge and Team GB house for athletes to reconnect with friends and family after competing.

Since his parents gave him his first BMX at the age of eight, Reilly has seen the sport explode in popularity, culminating in its Olympic debut at Tokyo 2020, where British team-mates Charlotte Worthington and Declan Brooks struck gold and silver.

“I got my work ethic from my parents, they always taught me you don’t get anything unless you put work in for it and I feel like that’s been a mantra growing up,” added Reilly.

“They kickstarted my career and made it happen and when I moved away from home it was one of the hardest things I had to do.”

With the backing of his team and family, Reilly will complete two qualification events in Shanghai and Budapest, before honing in on his goal of Olympic glory on debut.

“I’m set on gold,” he said. “It’s an event where you don’t often remember someone who got fourth place.

“The second [my family] heard about Paris they booked it. I tried to tell them to hold off until they knew I was going but they wouldn’t have it.

“They’ve always believed I’ll be going.”

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