U.S. cyclist Taylor Phinney looks to continue family tradition at Olympics

American Taylor Phinney rides during the second stage of the Tour of Italy on May 6 2012, in Herning. LUK BENIES/AFP/GettyImages

(CBS News Denver) For Boulder, Colorado's Taylor Phinney, riding a bike comes as easy as -- well, riding a bike. Although what Phinney does on two wheels is hardly just riding.

As CBS Denver reports, Taylor has been training for the London 2012 Summer Olympics.

"I'm really excited that I got the call up, that I'm going to be representing my country in the biggest race in the world," Taylor said.

CBSNews.com: Complete Coverage of the 2012 London Games

It could be said that Taylor was born to compete in cycling because his family has a little history at the Olympics.

"My mom won a gold medal in 1984 in Los Angeles and my dad won a bronze in the same Olympics," he said.

His parents are Davis Phinney and Connie Carpenter-Phinney -- both cycling champions and Olympic medalists. So of course Taylor would follow in their bike tracks, right? Not necessarily.

Cyclist Taylor Phinney poses for a portrait during the USOC Portrait Shoot on November 18, 2011 in West Hollywood, California.
Photo by Harry How/Getty Images for USOC

"He kind of grew up in the summer playing around with our bike camp clients and he saw serious cyclists a lot," Connie said. "And even when he was super little Davis was still racing, but I don't think either of us ever thought that he'd ever bike race.

"You have to want to do it yourself, it has to come from your intrinsic desire to push yourself, and us pushing it on him was almost a sure way for him not to want to do it," Davis said.

But eventually as a teenager Taylor would want to do it. He trained hard in Boulder and after just three years he made the U.S. Olympic Team for the first time.

"In 2008 in Beijing I got seventh in an event called the Individual Pursuit on the track," Taylor said. "That's where we ride around in circles."

The results weren't great and Taylor admits Beijing was mostly a blur. But there were some memorable moments.

"I had the women's gymnastics team staying above me in the village ... I was certainly young. And so, you know, I made some friendships, but at the same time got a little bit distracted," Taylor said.

"I was seventh in my first Olympic game ... when I was a speed skater," Connie said. "And he said, 'But yeah, Mom it took you 12 years to win a gold medal.' And I said, '(Yup).' "

Now that Taylor is heading back to the Olympics, he's cut the 12-year plan down to four. He's also left the track for road racing -- actually, he had to make that move since his old event was dropped from the Olympics.

"It definitely felt a lot like I got my heart broken; I got dumped by my own event," Taylor said. "But as you do in life you do in sport; you move on and you refocus."

And with that refocus comes a new attitude. These Olympics won't be a blur -- maybe they'll even be medal -- just like mom and dad.

"I obviously would like to add to the Phinney medal count; that would be amazing," Taylor said.

"It's been really all Taylor, all driven by Taylor; a lot of support from mom and dad," Connie said. "It's been really fun to be part of the journey."

"Now we're fondly known by-and-large as the parents of Taylor Phinney, which for us is really gratifying," Davis said.

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