The United States’ Beth Shriever won the women’s shot put gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics with a throw of 21.61 meters, despite having to overcome a funding cut and a double leg break.
The when will the olympics be is a question that has been in the minds of people for years. It was not until recently when it was announced that the Olympics would be held in Tokyo, Japan.
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Liam Gallagher is an admirer of Bethany Shriever. Everyone now thinks she’s a “ledge,” even the ex-Oasis frontman.
Few would have heard of her before Friday morning, but her BMX Olympic gold and the tale behind it have ensured that she will not be forgotten.
She could hardly stand after abandoning her bike only seconds after winning the race. Kye Whyte, who had just won silver in the men’s race, scooped her up in his arms, and the two rightfully milked their moment as Britain’s first BMX medalists.
“I’m happier for her than for myself,” Whyte added. “That girl puts in a lot of time and effort.”
Hard work, and then some. This was a moment that Shriever thought would never come four years ago.
Shriever quit the national set-up to go solo when UK Sport announced in 2017 that it would only support male riders for the Tokyo 2020 cycle depending on performance.
She needed to locate money elsewhere since she didn’t have it. Her parents pitched in as much as they could, and she got a part-time work as a teaching assistant, but she still needed to raise £50,000 to qualify for the Olympics.
“It’s been a long and difficult road,” she said to Sport.
One of the Olympic Games’ pictures…
‘We did it all collectively,’ says the group.
Shriever’s parents, Paul and Kate, and her boyfriend, Brynley, had been up since 1:55 a.m. back in Essex. Due to a delay in her first semi-final run, her siblings went back to bed for another 45 minutes of sleep.
The 22-year-old was unfazed by the delay, winning all three of her semi-final runs before storming to the front in the final, a lead she would never lose as she beat her hero, Colombia’s two-time Olympic champion Mariana Pajon.
Kate told Radio 5 Live, “It was emotional, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house.”
“I believe it was all worth it when she received the letter announcing her participation in the Olympics. Anything after that was a bonus; all she wanted to do was race and have fun. She has really enjoyed every moment of it. We were all certain that no matter what happened, we would be completely satisfied “”She’s one of them.”
Later, when the family was captured on tape video-calling their daughter, she was getting some lunch with Whyte, their medals on the table next to them. Kate implored, “Don’t allow them out of your sight.”
Shriever’s award, though, isn’t just hers. She was eager to praise her family, which, according to her father, “lives and breathes” BMX racing.
Paul told Sport, “It’s something we’ve done as a family, as a unit, and it’s linked us together.” “We’ve traveled across the globe together and done it everything.”
Along the road, there have been many ups and downs. Shriever, a former junior world champion, shattered her wrist three times and broke her leg in 2014, only to break it again on her first training session back.
Her mother said, “She landed a jump and on impact the metal rod in her leg twisted and broke her leg again.”
“A lot of people had written her off at that time; she was a very talented rider, but she had broken her leg twice and was out of the game for approximately 18 months, but she came back determined.”
Even before the Tokyo Games, the path had not been easy. She hadn’t competed in 18 months because to the Covid-19 epidemic, and she injured her shoulder in training earlier this year.
‘I hope it has a positive impact on the sport.’
But that was nothing compared to losing funds four years ago.
“We financed it and cared after Beth and put all we had behind her since BMX wasn’t regarded as anything worth investing in at the time,” Paul said.
“We’d do it again the next day. We’re simply overjoyed that she’s maintained her desire and ambition to achieve the best she can and that she’s managed to get to where she is today.”
Everything changed in 2019 when Stephen Park, British Cycling’s performance director, recognized Shriever’s potential after her crowdfunding effort.
He convinced UK Sport to enable them to re-allocate funds, allowing Shriever to return to the program and move up to Manchester.
Shriever told Sport, “For Sparky to recognize my potential and offer me an opportunity to be a full-time athlete propelled me in the right direction.” “Take a look at where I am today.”
She said, ” “I hope it helps the sport today and in the future in the United Kingdom. I’m hoping that more females, as well as guys, become involved. Everyone demonstrated that if you put your heart and soul into something and have joy doing it, you will be rewarded.”
Shriever’s achievement, as well as that of Whyte, who is from a Peckham housing estate, is hoped to inspire a new generation of riders, according to Park.
“What we want from a British Cycling viewpoint is that people can identify with Beth Shriever or Kye Whyte, and that we can expand the variety of cyclists,” Park said.
“Hopefully, whether you’re into the Tour de France, mountain bikes, or BMX, there’s something for everyone, and that pulls more people into the sport.”
“I would very much hope that the concept of attempting… to inspire a broader audience throughout our society is better handled from a UK Sport perspective as well as a British Cycling perspective when we have individuals winning in the various categories,” he said.
Shriever and Whyte’s achievement may be the spark that ignites a new age of creativity. You never know who else was watching BMX racing if Gallagher claimed it was “blowing his mind”external-link.