Mixed BMX Freestyle Park made an Olympic debut to remember as the Argentinian pair of Agustina Roth and Iñaki Iriartes shared the gold with Germany’s Lara Lessmann and Evan Brandes on day five of the Youth Olympic Games Buenos Aires 2018.
Japan’s Kanami Tanno and Yuma Oshimo collected the bronze on a cloudy but action-packed afternoon at the Urban Park in Puerto Madero.
The day’s action began with the women’s final, which saw Roth score 74 points on the best of her three runs, a score only bettered by Lessmann’s 83.66. That performance earned the German pair 15 team points, with the Argentinians picking up five points fewer.
“She’s a genius and she’s got a special gift. I couldn’t beat her,” said an appreciative Roth of her German opponent. “I just tried to get close so that we’d have a chance of winning a medal. The fans gave me the support I needed to go and pull out another trick. I’m so happy and I’d like to thank them for cheering me on.”
Roth was trackside for the men’s final and saw Iriartes reverse the result of Wednesday’s qualification round by scoring 83.33 points with his best run to Brandes’s 82, thanks to some spectacular tricks. The Argentinian rider celebrated his 15 points and a share of the gold in exuberant style, taking his shirt off and throwing into the crowd.
“The two teams both did a good job and I’m pleased there was no tiebreaker,” said Lessmann. “It was a great competition. I’ll be taking away some really good memories and I’ve made new friends too,” added her team-mate Brandes.
“I’m absolutely thrilled,” said Iriartes, who gave Roth a huge hug as he spoke. “We gave our all and won the medal. We come from a street environment. We don’t have rules, but we’re proud to take part in the Olympic Games. And I’m proud to share this occasion with some very talented female riders.”
BMX Freestyle Park will be making its full Olympic debut at Tokyo 2020, and judging by the large crowds that flocked to the Urban Park, the quality of the riding, and the event’s popularity with younger generations, it should prove a huge success on the big stage.