Georgia Baker

April 2017

A quick chat with Georgia Baker, Australian professional cyclist, Olympian and St.LukesHealth Brand Ambassador.

At just 23 years of age, Tasmania’s Georgia Baker has achieved more than most do in a lifetime despite heart surgery and the sad death of her father.

Spotted at a talent identification program at 14 on her first ride at the velodrome, Georgia’s dedication and desire to take on the world has won the admiration of the cycling fraternity and her thousands of fans.  

It’s no surprise Georgia has achieved incredible success. Already she is a multiple UCI Junior World Champion, made the 2016 UCI Track World Championships in London and made her Olympics debut in the women’s team pursuit at the 2016 Rio De Janeiro Games.
St.LukesHealth caught up with Georgia recently between training sessions in Adelaide, as she prepares for the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games later this year and also looks to the Toyko Olympics in 2020.

Georgia has made an impressive return to the track following a health scare last year which forced her departure from the International women’s tour in the UK. She returned home for heart tests leading to surgery to correct an abnormal heart-rate.
"It was a really tough period. My heart rate would spike to 150 beats per minute at any time of the day and leave me feeling really light headed. I had no control over it and it would happen mid-race, in training sessions and even when I wasn't on the bike."

"I just knew it wasn't normal," Georgia said.  With a family history of heart problems, Georgia wasn’t prepared to ignore her symptoms.
Her scare came two years after tragically losing her father Patrick, 44, to a heart attack. The grief of her father’s death drove her to prioritise her health and then to get back on the bike following surgery.

I was out of cycling for a few months while they did various tests and scans to try and work out what was going on but after surgery, I was able to get back on the bike within a week,” she said.

Having the right health insurance meant I could focus on my health when I needed to, make sure I could get all the tests and scans I needed and then have surgery without worrying about cost. I am relieved that my ordeal is now over and I can now focus well and truly on the track.

Currently based in Adelaide for the training and hoping for Commonwealth Games selection later this month, Georgia says it is her family and friends in Tasmania that are her support network and inspire her every day.

"I'm driven by their belief in me and constant support of my cycling. On the days I wake up and feel heading to the track is too hard or that I can't do it, I think of them, particularly Dad."

She says the cycling community in Tasmania is very supportive. The Tasmanian Institute of Sport and Cycling Tasmania has encouraged her from day one and supported her family involvement as well.

"My coach Matt Gilmore has always been there for me and Tasmania is producing some really brilliant cyclists at the moment," Georgia says. "The Tassie terrain was the perfect training ground for me and really helped me become the cyclist I am today. Being here in South Australia is great but sometimes I catch myself wishing for a few of those Tassie hills!" she laughs.

"Its a great feeling to be back on track."

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