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Hannah Roberts took silver in the first-ever Olympic BMX freestyle finals Sunday.
The 19-year-old crushed the first of her two runs only to be undone by a spectacular second run by Charlotte Worthington (Great Britain), who landed the first-ever 360 backflip in women’s BMX freestyle competition to claim gold.
U.S. rider Perris Benegas was edged out of bronze by less than one point, with Nikita Ducarroz (Switzerland) grabbing the bottom step of the podium.
The Australian Logan Martin won the men’s event, while U.S duo Nick Bruce and Justin Dowell had a difficult day in Tokyo.
Bruce has been struggling with a shoulder injury for much of the week and could not start his second run. Dowell’s first run was blighted by an error and he crashed in his second effort. The two finished bottom of the rankings.
— Team USA (@TeamUSA) August 1, 2021
Roberts had started the day as top favorite for the women’s competition after winning three of the last four world championships.
The Indianan blitzed her first run to move to the top of the rankings, but Worthington’s history-making second run elevated the Brit to the top of the final standings and left Roberts in second.
Roberts was magnanimous in defeat.
“Charlie (Worthington) did some crazy things,” Roberts said after the competition. “I’m super stoked for her, there’s nobody else I’d rather take second to than Charlotte. She absolutely killed it. She’s been progressing a lot, so when I saw her score, well deserved.”
Roberts had to contend with the pressure of watching Roberts deliver her stunning backflip before she made her second run. A small error at the start of her ride made the difference.
“I knew there were some things that I could do to improve my score (in my second run) and hopefully take that gold back, but I messed up in the moment,” Roberts said. “That’s all. I’m still stoked on silver.”
OH. MY. GOODNESS. 🤯
360 backflip. Frontflip. Backflip. Unbelievable. 🔥
Score is in and it's big…
— British Cycling (@BritishCycling) August 1, 2021
Worthington became the first women’s BMX freestyle Olympic champion with her performance.
“I’m over the moon. I’m still sitting here waiting to wake up. I’ve been thinking about this day for the past three or four years, just going in and out of thinking I can or I can’t do it,” Worthington said. “It feels like a dream.”
Martin delivered on his billing as the rider to watch in the men’s event. The Aussie is the reigning world champion and seeded first in Saturday’s ranking event. The 27-year-old made a stunning first run and couldn’t be beaten from there.
“I have no words. This is crazy,” an emotional Martin said afterward. “It’s been such a long journey to get here. I fully set out to get here and win the gold medal. I came in as the favorite after winning the world championships last month, so I had a lot of pressure coming into Japan.
“I’ve had so many highs in my career, but I’ve never, ever gotten teary, so that just shows how meaningful this one is to me. It’s the biggest stage of them all, the gold medal, to bring that home and show my son. For him to look up to me … it’s amazing.”
love love this double front flips with no hand on bike!!! …just wow😱
— вuа.w (@buawts) August 1, 2021