Age group world champion cyclists to compete at Youth Olympic Games



Multi-world age group champions Jessie Smith and Cailen Calkin, both from the Waikato, are part of the five-strong New Zealand cycling team to compete at the Youth Olympic Games in Argentina.

The athletes will compete in the 13-day Games at Buenos Aires from 6-18 October in a team comprising BMX, mountain bike and road riders.

Smith was the 16 years BMX world champion in 2017 and ninth in her first year as a junior elite in 2018.

Calkin, a three-time Challenge world champion, was a quarterfinalist in the junior elite (under-19) category this year.

At the Youth Olympic Games the pair will compete in the BMX racing against other riders of the same sex, with their results to be combined as medals are awarded to the team with the most points.

The pair are joined by three mountain-bike riders (who also have road experience), Samara (Sammie) Maxwell (Taupo), Phoebe Young (Wanaka) and Max Taylor (Palmerston North).

Maxwell is the national under-19 mountain bike champion while Young is the Oceania under-19 winner and also New Zealand under-19 road time trial champion.

Taylor, the 2017 under-17 mountain bike champion, has also enjoyed success as a road rider.

The mountain bike/road riders will race in a criterium, time trial and road race (road cycling) with an eliminator and short track races for mountain bike.

Maxwell and Young will compete as a team in the female division. In the male division Taylor will compete alongside Calkin.

"The Youth Olympic Games is an important international stage for our young riders to experience the Olympic values and to both experience and understand the challenges of a vast multisport global competition,” said Cycling New Zealand HP Athlete Development Lead, Graeme Hunn.

“The International Olympic Committee continue to use this competition to incorporate fresh ideas and new sports, several of which have flowed through to international and Olympic events."

This time we believe the competitions are really beneficial to our developing riders and we have selected a strong group of outstanding young people who we believe will acquit themselves well in and out of competition.”

New Zealand Olympic Committee CEO Kereyn Smith extended her congratulations to the athletes.

“Well done to all of these athletes for all the hard work they’ve put in to make it to this point.”

New Zealand has an extremely proud cycling history at both Olympic and Commonwealth Games level and we look forward to these athletes becoming part of that legacy.”

The 2018 Youth Olympic Games will be the third edition of the summer youth Games. The Games are a pre-elite development opportunity for the world's most promising young athletes, allowing them to experience a multi-sport games environment while exposing them to learning and cultural opportunities and helping them on the performance pathway.


The team is:

BMX: Jessie Smith (Hamilton), Cailen Calkin (Hamilton). Non-travelling reserves: Luey Cotton (Kapiti), Baylee Luttrell (Hamilton).

Mountain Bike-Road: Sammie Maxwell (Taupo), Phoebe Young (Wanaka), Max Taylor (Palmerston North) and Cailen Calkin.


For more information contact:

Lewis Hampton
Communications and Content Executive
New Zealand Olympic Committee
+64 27 451 8090 


Ian Hepenstall
Cycling New Zealand
+64 27 561 3181

Athlete Information

Jessie Smith
DOB: 21 April 2001
Age: 17 years
Jessie is a multi-world champion in age groups (Challenge Class) over several years, winning the 14 years, 15 years and 16 years titles before moving to the junior elite (under-19 category). In her first year in the junior elite category, Jessie made it to the semi-finals, finishing ninth overall and missing out of the grand final by 0.1s. She is sponsored and mentored by London Olympic silver medallist, Sarah Walker.
Cailen Calkin
DOB: 28 October 2001
Age: 16 years
Cailen began in BMX from the age of 4 years. He won his first New Zealand title in 2012 and is currently a 10-time National Champion. His first World Championship Challenge class title came in 2013 and he has now won three World Championships. At just 16 years, he moved to the junior elite (Under-19) category, reaching the quarterfinals in his junior elite World Championship debut.
Combined Mountain Bike/Road
Sammie Maxwell
DOB: 27 December 2001
Age: 16 years
Sammie Maxwell is a member of the Subway National Mountain Bike Performance Hub and won the New Zealand cross-country under-19 title this year. She is also an adept road and cyclocross rider.
Phoebe Young
DOB: 12 September 2000
Age: 17 years
Young is an excellent all-round cyclist who is the current Oceania under-19 mountain bike champion and runner-up in the under-19 mountain bike national championships. On the road she is the under-19 road cycling time trial national champion and was second in the Oceania Champs. She is a member of the Subway National MTB Performance Hub.

Max Taylor
Palmerston North
DOB: 29 July 2001
Age 16 years
Max won the 2017 current New Zealand mountain bike under-17 title and is currently a member of the Subway National Mountain Bike Performance Hub. He has enjoyed success as a road cyclist in school and age competitions.