BMX at Olympics 2021: who are Tokyo 2020 medallists Beth Schriever and Kye Whyte - and how they got into racing
The pair have known each other for some time, having met in youth talent teams as children.
Who are Beth Schriever and Kye Whyte and how did they meet?
Beth Shriever and Kye Whyte were around 12 when they met for the first time on the BMX youth talent teams.
They went separate ways but recently came together again as training partners and professionals in Manchester.
In spite of being the world junior BMX champion in 2017, Shriever was forced to work part-time as a teaching assistant in Essex while training on the side to make ends meet.
After a UK Sport decision which meant only male BMX riders would be financially supported after Rio, Shriever had to crowdfund in order to travel to competitions.
Whyte comes from Peckham, South London and spent his formative years at Peckham BMX club where his mother was a secretary, his father was a coach and his older brother built international BMX careers.
Schriever recently rejoined British Cycling and trains in Manchester with Whyte. She is the only female rider in the squad.
What is the significance of their win?
Both Shriever, 22, and Whyte, 21, have emerged as Great Britain’s first ever BMX medallists within minutes of each other at this year’s Olympics.
Whyte overcame two weaker starts in his first two runs, but won the third semi-final heat of three, finishing the final with a time of 39.167 seconds.
Shriever was strong throughout, and won by large distances during the semi-finals.
In spite of being under pressure from Mariana Pajón of Colombia, Shriever maintained her composure and took the gold medal with a time of 44.358sec, winning by just 0.09sec.
After she finished, Whyte ran over and lifted Shriever into the sky in jubilation.
What have Shriever and Whyte said?
Speaking after the win, Shriever spoke of the pain she experienced from her efforts:
“I had nothing left at the end. I left it all on the track,” she said. “I honestly could not even stand up. The lactic acid in my legs, I’ve never felt anything like it before.”
Both Whyte and Shriever said they were unfazed by the danger in their sport.
“If you’re scared, you might as well pack your bags early,” said Whyte. “Because you’re not gonna ride properly if you’re scared to crash. I said to my brother this morning: ‘Nothing’s stopping me, I’m prepared to crash.’”
He says that his brother responded: “Chill, g.”
The pair said their win had made history.
“It’s amazing,” said Shriever. “We’ve created history. Inspiring the next generation, inspiring more girls to get involved. Like Kye was saying, I’m the only girl in the programme. To get a few more girls coming in, to get them involved would be amazing.”
Whyte said that he was even happier for Shriever than he was for himself.
“Even before we left out here, her starts weren’t that great,” he said. “I gave her a little hand. She was crying, I said: ‘Beth, you’re flippin’ rapid. You’re actually very fast.’ She’s gone and proven it. Nothing I can say. From the first race, I knew she was going to win.”