|Name Natasha Hansen|
Role Air traffic controller
|Height 1.67 m|
Weight 68 kg
Born 15 November 1989 (age 31), Takapuna, Auckland, New Zealand
Similar Laurine van Riessen, Natasha Watley, Natasha Hastings
Hansen was born in 1989 in Takapuna on Auckland's North Shore. She grew up in Canterbury and played netball for the Canterbury Flames including trials at the national level. Her motivation for taking up track cycling during secondary school was to increase her fitness for netball.
At her second national trials, she set new national records in sprint and 500 m, which qualified her for the 2007 UCI Juniors World Championships held in Aguascalientes, Mexico. This was her first international event and gained her a training place in World Cycling Centre in the French speaking part of Switzerland, to where she moved. Hansen moved back to New Zealand in the following year (2008) and moved to Invercargill to train at the Invercargill ILT Velodrome, then the base of the New Zealand cycling team. During her time there in the Southland city, she trained as an air traffic controller at Invercargill Airport. At the 2011 Oceania Cycling Championships, she gained titles in team sprint, Keirin, and the 500 m event. This secured her a place at the 2012 Summer Olympics for the Keirin and the sprint. Her preparation was distracted by her best friend dying of cancer, and Hansen returned to New Zealand in July 2012 for the funeral. She came 12th in the sprint and 11th in the Keirin.
She took 2013 off from competitive cycling and looked for another opportunity to keep herself fit. She took up boxing to train for a charity event in Christchurch. She competed in 'Fight for Christchurch 2013' in November, raising funds for the Ronald McDonald House South Island. The event itself raised in excess of $200,000 for selected charities.
Hansen regained her motivation for track cycling and moved to Cambridge on 1 January 2015; the national team had relocated to the Avantidrome when it officially opened in April 2014. At the same time, she relocated to Hamilton Airport for work. She teamed up with Katie Schofield for the team sprint and came fourth at a World Cup meeting in Cali, Colombia, in January 2015. Hansen was competing with Schofield and Stephanie McKenzie for selection for the 2016 Rio Olympics when she came fifth in the individual sprint in March 2016 at the 2016 UCI Track Cycling World Championships in London, and this performance secured her place at her second Olympics. Hansen was confirmed by the New Zealand Olympic Committee as part of the first track cyclists chosen for Rio on 7 April 2016. The remainder of the team was confirmed in July, and that included Olivia Podmore who was the other half of the sprint team. Hansen and Podmore did not survive the qualification round in the team sprint.