BMX Freestyle: Britain and Australia Take First Gold Medals at New Olympic Event
TOKYO – New for the Tokyo Games, Freestyle BMX is an expert demonstration of bike handling and aerial trickery as riders set off on a ramp course exclusive to their 20-inch wheeled bikes.
Ramps have a variety of transitions, propelling riders skyward before they land in the ramp and onto the next lap.
It sometimes appeared as if the horsemen were in a video game.
They rotate their handlebars or the frame of the bike under their body in the air, up to three times in a single movement. All of these tricks are done with a calm conscience to find the handlebars or pedals when it’s time to return to Earth, where a panel of judges grade them in the only judged event in cycling.
At the inaugural BMX Freestyle event in Tokyo, a low-key drama unfolded. On the women’s side, Hannah Roberts seemed to be in a class of her own. After the first few runs, she easily sat down in first place, scoring a 96.10 out of 100, her closest competitor nearly seven points behind.
But Sunday was not Roberts’ day, and she had to settle for the money. Great Britain’s Charlotte Worthington, who fell in her first run, pulled off a women’s first 360 back flip, with several other tough tricks to secure the victory.
On the men’s side, Australian Logan Martin dominated in his first run and went unchallenged in the second. With three riders remaining, it looked like Costa Rica would win their first Games medal with Kenneth Tencio Esquivel in third place. But Venezuelan Daniel Dhers took advantage of his second run to position himself for the money. It was enough to get Costa Rica out of the medal competition.
When Declan Brooks won bronze, Great Britain had won a third of all medals in BMX, with one rider winning one medal in each discipline.
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