19-Year-Old Hannah Roberts Nabs Silver in BMX Freestyle's Olympic Debut
"I am just honored to be here representing Team USA and I'm gonna thrown down what I can," Hannah Roberts said before competing
Not long before she won a silver medal at the Tokyo Summer Olympics, Hannah Roberts promised "one heck of a show" in the women's BMX freestyle final on Sunday.
She delivered: The reigning world champion earned silver at the Games in both her and her sport's Olympic debut.
Roberts, who will celebrate her 20th birthday next week, was leading halfway through the final until Great Britain's Charlotte Worthington edged her out in the second run with a best score of 97.50.
Roberts' best score of 96.10, on her first run, put her second on the podium. Switzerland's Nikita Ducarroz won bronze.
Fellow American rider Perris Benegas, the only woman to defeat Roberts at the world championship so far, finished fourth. (In the men's freestyle, U.S. riders Justin Dowell and Nick Bruce finished in seventh and eighth place; Bruce injured his shoulder during practice days earlier.)
Speaking with reporters on Saturday, Roberts, who grew up in Michigan, said she had struggled, certainly, but she had not stopped.
"It's been three or four years of just work and I made some mistakes along the way, I had some bad seasons," she said, "and just being able to come back stronger every time and taking advice and taking the losses with bittersweet moments — you just gotta accept all of it, gotta learn from it and it was a long process, but we're here and it is very exciting."
Roberts also talked about the drain of the pandemic postponement on her career — how "that took so much out of me because it just wasn't fun anymore."
But to be here now, representing the U.S. in BMX freestyle's first appearance at the Games, was its own double victory.
"I don't care what kind of medal or what place I'll get, I am just honored to be here representing Team USA and I'm gonna throw down what I can and whatever I get I'm having so much fun out here, it doesn't matter," Roberts told reporters on Saturday.
Then, she marveled at what the last few days had been like.
"It was insane. Dropping in today, obviously this week we were just focusing on practice and having fun, but today Natalya Diehm of Australia came up to me and she was like, 'Yo, we're Olympians,' " Roberts said.
To learn more about Team USA, visit TeamUSA.org. Watch the Tokyo Olympics now on NBC.