Beth Shriever talks Tokyo: 'I'm proof that you can make it'
- Credit: PA
Winning Team GB's first ever BMX gold medal in the Olympics is "surreal", Beth Shriever has said.
Shriever, from Finchingfield, crowdfunded some of her training and competition trips to secure a spot at Tokyo 2020.
She won gold in the women's BMX race today (Friday, July 30), winning Team GB's sixth Tokyo gold medal.
Shriever said she owed much of her success in Japan to her parents back home in Essex.
She told this newspaper: "You've got to commit to it and get out there.
"Get your mum and dad to help you out and take you to where you need to be.
"I owe a lot of my success to my mum and dad. I wouldn't be here today - going to all these lovely places, training and racing - without them and their support."
The 22-year-old cyclist, originally from Leytonstone, trains in Braintree.
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In Tokyo, she stormed through the semi finals without losing a single race before beating Colombia's Marian Pajo by 0.090 seconds in the final.
She won the event shortly after Kye Whyte, from Peckham, claimed Team GB's first BMX medal since its introduction into the Olympics in 2008.
Whyte won silver in the men's race and was beaten by Dutch rider Niek Kimmann by just 0.114 seconds.
Beth Shriever's parents, Paul and Kate Shriever, watched the race from their home in Essex with their sons Noah and Luke and Beth Shriever's partner Brynley.
Kate Shriever said she was "over the moon" at her daughter's gold medal-winning performance.
She said she used to drive her daughter to Manchester every other weekend when she made it into a young talent team.
"You can make it, even if you are from a rural area or a lower class area," Beth Shriever said.
"Both Kye and I are proof of that."
Shriever's bid for a spot in Tokyo has not been easy.
No British women qualified for the BMX in the Rio Olympics five years ago.
In 2017, she dropped out of British Cycling's programme after UK Sport said only male BMX riders would be supported in its post-Olympics review after Rio 2016.
Shriever told BBC Sport in 2019 that this was worrying.
She said: "It is worrying and I don't want my dream to compete at Tokyo to be taken away just because of money."
Speaking to the press today, Shriever said: "We haven't really had a chance to stop since getting the medals.
"I think when we have our evenings tonight, it will really set in - when we get to talk to our families.
"What a journey we have had!"
She added: "A few years ago, funding got cut for the women in BMX. I decided to go solo and do my own thing.
"I was working part time and training alongside.
"The Olympics was fast approaching. I did a Crowdfund to get me to the world cups for Olympic qualifications.
"That was paid for from the Crowdfunding. I was also able to pay for a great coach at the time.
"British Cycling saw that potential and made me a full-time athlete.
"Without that funding and being able to use these facilities I wouldn't be where I am today."
Kye Whyte, who won silver in the men's race, praised Shriever for her determination and dedication to the sport.
Whyte said: "She's achieved great things.
"She did have funding, then she didn't, and now she does - and now she's a gold medallist."
Whyte said that BMX "is for everyone", adding that black children in the sport are now seeing opportunities in British Cycling - a positive change.
Shriever was a pupil at at Helena Romanes School in Dunmow.
The school's PE department tweeted: "Huge congratulations to Bethany Shriever on her First place medal in her first Olympics."
Kye Whyte and Beth Shriever are both "history makers," Team GB said.