BMX Olympic Champion Bethany Shriever has described how the shock of winning gold at Tokyo 2020 caused her legs to buckle after her race for the first time ever.
Shriever snatched a remarkable gold medal for Great Britain in the women's BMX race at the Olympic Games, in the process becoming Great Britain's first ever Olympic champion in the sport.
But despite her want to celebrate her victory with her team-mate Kye Whyte, who had just taken silver in the men’s race, the 22-year-old was unable to stand
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Silver medalist Kye Whyte and gold medalist Bethany Shriever of Team Great Britain pose for a photograph while celebrate at the medal ceremony after the BMX final on day seven of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Ariake Urban Sports Park

Image credit: Getty Images

The image Whyte sweeping the gold medallist up into his arms has become iconic of these games.
She said: “I wanted to celebrate and Kye was saying, ‘We need to celebrate, we need to celebrate,’ but I physically could not walk.
It was a bit of a shame as I wanted to run up to Kye but instead he was there to lift me up.
“I’ve seen the pictures everywhere, Kye’s absolutely amazing.
“He was so happy for me. What a moment.
We’ve gone on this journey together. We were on the Talent Team together aged 12, we’ve done camps, travelled together.
“I’ve trained with him pretty much every day at the National Cycling Centre in Manchester.”
Shriever perfected her racing by competing against boys, she believes her key cues to be timing and aggression, which she has picked up from them.

'It's been crazy!' - GB heroes Whyte and Shriever on 'amazing' Tokyo medals

“When it comes to jumping and pushing me to do stuff that other girls wouldn’t, then 100 per cent,” she said
“I trust them and Kye has helped me. They are compassionate and have learnt to deal with me on a down day. They know to give me a hug.
“The only negative is I need more experience being around girls on the [start] gate.
Boys do not give a ****. I feel girls worry about who is next to them and they back off more than the boys.
“But I went to a camp in the Netherlands with five girls which helped me with my prep.”
The Essex based athletes admits to giving the race her all because she promised she would.
Prior to the games she was called into a meeting with Stephen Park, known as Sparky, the British Cycling performance director, who, she recalls, asked: “If we put money into you and believe in you, can you bring back a medal?”
She said: “I said, ‘Yes, 100 per cent.’
“It was quite intense because Sparky was saying, ‘We need medals, we need medals,’ and I was like, ‘OK. If you believe in me, I’ll train and give it as much as I can.’
“They believed in me and got UK Sport and the National Lottery behind me as well and that helped fund my journey.
They’ve obviously made the right decision because I’ve come back with a gold medal.
“In the build-up there were days when I did question things.
“I hadn’t seen any good times in the final week.

'It's been crazy!' - GB heroes Whyte and Shriever on 'amazing' Tokyo medals

“I was getting PBs on my sprints so I knew I was fast and the strongest I’d ever been but the last piece of the puzzle was that time at the bottom of the hill.
“On my very last session I got the time. I knew then I was ready
“By that last corner, my legs were already in bits, they were burning. Pure burning.”
Shriever will return to the track for the BMX World Championships, which begin on August 17.

‘Life changing!’ – Shriever and Whyte celebrate the enormity of their success in BMX

She hopes that her Olympic gold will act as a warning to her competitors
“I feel people will look at me differently now,” she said. “Before my final my season had been up and down.
But hopefully my rivals will be thinking, ‘I’ve got Beth Shriever on the outside of me now, or I’ve got Beth Shriever in my race.’
“It’s kind of a good feeling.”
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