Aug 23, 2023
The 21-year-old American has now won five world championships in the discipline. This was her fourth straight victory at worlds. When it comes to freestyle BMX, it’s Hannah Roberts’ world. We’re just
The 21-year-old American has now won five world championships in the discipline. This was her fourth straight victory at worlds.
When it comes to freestyle BMX, it’s Hannah Roberts’ world. We’re just living in it.
The 21-year-old native of Buchanan, Michigan took her fourth consecutive and fifth overall World Championship on Monday in the freestyle BMX discipline.
Roberts was so dialed that she didn’t even need a second run, as she posted a score of 91.04 on her opening go at the freestyle park on Glasgow Green.
Roberts beat out what felt like the entire Chinese bicycling federation, who finished in the five spots behind Roberts. Sibei Sun finished second with a high score of 89.10 and Huimin Zhou rounded out the podium, scoring 87.90 in her second run.
“I mean, Team China, they’re coming on strong. They have some of the best riders in the world and they’re so motivated to keep it going,” Roberts said after her victory. “They placed second through sixth and that’s incredible for an entire team. So going into the event, I knew there was some big stuff I wanted to pull for the first run. I did what I could.”
Keiran Reilly 🇬🇧 and Hannah Roberts 🇺🇸 took the Rainbow jerseys at the BMX Freestyle Park! 🌈#GlasgowScotland2023 Watch all the action at https://t.co/8FSJcLL3Gx (territory restrictions apply) pic.twitter.com/M5DB47vQgZ
Freestyle BMX gives riders a pair of 60-second runs across a park full of various quarter pipes, kickers, ramps, and pyramids, from which their highest score is counted.
Roberts began racing BMX at age nine before transitioning into the freestyle discipline in 2012.
She won her first World Championship in her UCI World Championship debut in 2017. The following year, Roberts finished third at Worlds. She’s won every World Championship since (2020’s Worlds, which were slated to be held in Houston, were canceled due to the Covid-19 pandemic).
For Hannah Roberts, there’s only one box left unchecked on her international palmarès (do freestyle BMXers call it their “palmarès?”): to win an Olympic gold medal.
In the 2020 Tokyo Olympics—where BMX Freestyle made its Olympic debut—Roberts took home the silver after a poor landing on her second run forced her to stop the run and accept her first-round score.
Roberts was the first overall seed and a heavy favorite going into the event.
However, Great Britain’s Charlotte Worthington took gold, scoring a 97.50 on her second run, which topped Roberts’ 96.10 first run. The pair were head and shoulders above the competition, as third-place finisher Nikita Ducarroz of Switzerland notched an 89.20.
Worthington finished Monday’s World Championships in seventh place with a high score of 76.70. But it was Worthington who was amongst the first to congratulate Roberts when it was realized the young American had won.
“I’m super grateful,” Roberts said after her win. “I’m still emotional.”
Roberts—who also won freestyle gold at the 2019 Pan American Games—will have another shot to stand atop the Olympic podium next summer in Paris.
Michael Venutolo-Mantovani is a writer and musician based in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. He loves road and track cycling, likes gravel riding, and can often be found trying to avoid crashing his mountain bike.
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