Cycling superhero meets ‘man of steel’
Warner Bros. Movie World patrons could be excused for seeing double when two ‘Men of Steel’ appeared on the final day (15 April) of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games.
Superman more than met his match when Australian cyclist Steele Von Hoff put the pedal to the metal just one day after defying the odds to win the gold medal in the gruelling 168.3 Men’s Road Race.
The victory came just seven weeks after Von Hoff broke four vertebrae in a crash during club racing in Melbourne.
“I can’t compete with Superman himself,” said the modest medallist. “I’m just a normal guy with my own goals, but I like to think that, like Superman, I defied what people said was possible.”
While experiencing one of the Gold Coast’s best theme parks with the help of Destination Gold Coast, Von Hoff opened up about the accident that left him hospitalised for 2.5 weeks and then needing help to even sit up in bed, before he resumed training on a recumbent bicycle and in a neck brace.
“It was just one of those freak accidents that you think will never happen and probably won’t happen again,” he said.
“Things looked a bit grim there for a while and a part of me thought I wouldn’t be able to compete at the Commonwealth Games.
“I just thought it was kind of a make or break time. If I didn’t do it, that was it for my career. So I had to push through and I was just happy to be competing. To then come out on top, I’m just over the moon.”
Von Hoff admitted to being nervous as he prepared for Saturday’s road race, his first competitive hit-out since the crash.
“I just wasn’t 100 per cent confident,” he said. “I’m one of those people who needs to be pushed, so when I started racing and had the whole crowd behind me and cheering me on, it really inspired me.
“It’s been amazing to see so many people and to compete in a home event.”
There’s no resting for this particular ‘Man of Steele’. While the 2018 Commonwealth Games have now ended, Von Hoff is heading off to compete in the Tour of Brittany that gets under way in France on April 25.
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