Tokyo Olympics: Team GB's Beth Shriever wins gold in women's BMX racing

July 30, 2021

Great Britain's Beth Shriever has won the gold medal in the women's BMX racing at the Tokyo Olympics.

Her victory came minutes after Team GB's Kye Whyte won silver in the men's competition.

Shriever led from the first bend, holding off a late charge from defending champion Mariana Pajon of Colombia down the final straight. Dutch rider Merel Smulders won the bronze medal.

Shriever's win comes just two years after she was forced to launch a £50,000 crowdfunder to finance her path to Tokyo as she does not receive funding from UK Sport.

Shriever, 22, said after winning gold: "It's a bit surreal, it's a bit mad, I haven't even spoken to my family yet. I can't wait to speak to all them and see how they're feeling. I saw them at the end there getting all emotional and it's just amazing, I can't believe it."

Her mother Kate said it was "really tough" not being in Tokyo to watch her compete.

"We were screaming at the TV saying 'Keep pedalling! Keep pedalling!'

"It was quite tight but it's just amazing that she's done it. We're all over the moon. She's just such a lovely, caring and determined person. She's had so many injuries - it's quite a dangerous sport - so she really deserves this.

"We knew she was relaxed and happy. She seemed really in tune with riding and she loved the track. But with BMX it's anyone's game, and anything can happen.

"It's been a very long night. We were all up at 2am for the semi-final, and then the rain delay happened, but we're just so really proud of Beth and very happy for her."

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said he's sure the funding situation for Team GB's BMX racers will "doubtless change" following Shriever's success.

"I don't know the specifics of (Beth's) funding, but I do know that the way that the sports are funding is quite a kind of… they look for the winning sports and those are the ones they fund," Mr Shapps told Kay Burley on Sky News.

"I don't know what the background was to her funding but well done to her, what a phenomenal story and an amazing win for the country."

Her mum added: "When the funding was withdrawn, a couple of years ago, she made the decision she wanted to continue on the journey of BMX.

"So she decided to get a job part time in the school and fund her BMX part time and work part time."

Kate said dad Paul also took Beth to all the races she needed to get to, but more money was needed.

"We did a Go Fund page to assist with that because it was very expensive for about two years."

British Cycling then took over the funding after Beth moved to Manchester full time to train.

Meanwhile Whyte, a 21-year-old Londoner, made it into the first corner of the men's final in second place and held his position as Niek Kimmann took gold for the Netherlands.

Colombian Carlos Ramirez Yepes took the bronze.

Whyte had shown in qualifying he had enough speed if only he could get off the line, but there were no mistakes in the final, as he quickly got himself into position.

There was drama earlier in the day when reigning champion Connor Fields had to be carried off on a stretcher after crashing in the third semi-final heat.

The 28-year-old American rider was fourth after his opening two heats but landed hard after a jump.

He lay on the track as medics rushed to his side. They carried him away a few minutes later.

While he qualified for the final, he was not able to race.

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