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Gwendalyn Gibson scores breakout bronze for USA at MTB short track world championships

Colorado-based 23-year-old surfs through slippery circuit to finish third in Les Gets mountain bike worlds.

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Gwendalyn Gibson surfed through a slippery short course world championships to score a breakout bronze medal Friday.

Gibson, 23, filled out the podium beneath Pauline Ferrand-Prévot and Alessandra Keller in Les Gets, just four weeks after a marquee victory at the Snowshoe World Cup.

“It’s so special to get to have a really great performance in front of [my family] and this has just been a dream end to the season. I’m so happy,” Gibson said Friday.

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A fast, rocky course in the French Alps was made treacherous with falling rain Friday.

Several top favorites toward the front of the pack were upended on the slick stones as Gibson kept the rubber side down and worked through the field.

The California-native finished just three seconds behind silver medallist Keller after picking off a number of opponents in the final minutes.

“I think you just had to stay smooth. The lines were the same but you had to stay a bit more cautious,” she said.

“The rocks were wet and that changed up the dynamic a bit. I think some riders took a spill on the wet rocks so I was like ‘just keep it upright, push it on the climbs, and I’ll be good.'”

The result marks the next step an incredible comeback story for Gibson.

The Exercise Science university student isn’t even three months post-injury. In May, Gibson broke her kneecap at a race in Grand Junction, forcing her to sit out the Fort William and Leogang World Cups.

Kate Courtney and Savilia Blunk slotted into the top-10 behind Gibson to make a standout day for the U.S. women’s team. Christopher Blevins finished 16th in the men’s race after a late crash took him out of contention.

Gibson, Blevins and the rest of the team reboot Saturday ahead of cross country racing Sunday.