Russia’s Varvara Ovchinnikova and Ilia Beskrovnyy won gold in an enthralling mixed BMX team competition at the Youth Olympic Games Buenos Aires 2018 on Sunday. Completing the podium behind them were Switzerland’s Kevin Schunck and Zoe Claessens in second, and Juan Camilo Ramirez Valencia and Gabriela Bolle Carrillo of Colombia in third.
Held on the Argentinian capital’s Paseo de la Costa and comprising a male and female rider from each country, the 16-team event was full of thrills, spills and nerve-shredding drama, with every race counting to the final result.
Over three semi-final runs, eight competitors in each gender category progressed to the finals, with extra drama being added as all 16 racers in both groups received a score based on their final ranking. When those scores were combined, Ovchinnikova and Beskrovnyy came out on top.
“BMX is made for great action, anything can happen – especially in a final when everyone is going for the top spot,” said Schunck. “We had our eye on the gold medal. I think I threw it away on the last corner.
“Being at an Olympic event is so much bigger than anything we’ve done so far, like the world championships or European championships in BMX,” added the Swiss rider. “There’s an amazing atmosphere in the Village… And I can eat some steak now.”
The two-time world junior champion Ross Cullen came in joint tenth with his Great Britain team-mate Elissa Bradford, a day after carrying his country’s flag at the Opening Ceremony.