BRILLIANT Beth Shriever yesterday pedalled her way to Team GB’s first female gold win in Tokyo — after raising £50,000 to fund her Olympic BMX dream.
Despite no official funding, she has won more gold medals than the whole of the rowing squad, who were given £27million in support.
Beth, 22, collapsed on the track after her victory, then wept as she caught sight of her family on a big screen as they celebrated back home at breakfast time.
After getting her medal, she was hoisted up by team-mate Kye Whyte, 21, who earlier claimed a silver in the men’s race.
His second place was Britain’s first medal in BMX racing at the Olympics.
Despite her being crowned junior world champion in 2017, UK Sport decided to fund only male BMX riders for this year’s Games following the Rio Olympics in 2016.
Beth, from Leytonstone, East London, even worked part-time as a teaching assistant to fulfil her Olympic dream.
And it was all worthwhile yesterday as she held off a late surge from Colombia’s double Olympic champion Mariana Pajon to win.
Her incredible moment was even celebrated by former Oasis star Liam Gallagher, who tweeted: "Bethany Shriever what a ledge well done LG x," as her name now transcends pop culture.
After her stunning victory, she told BBC Sport: "It's been a very long and hard journey.
"I owe a lot of it to my family and had to rely on on my mum and dad to get me to places.
"We had to end up crowd-funding, which got me into a few races and paid for a coach at the time.
"And then for 'Sparky' (Stephen Park) at British Cycling to see my potential and give me a chance to be a full-time athlete, to shot me in the right direction and to where I am now…
"I fought so hard for this and it's just amazing. I'm so grateful."
FUNDING HER DREAM
With the help of parents Kate and Paul, she managed to scrimp by. While boyfriend Brynley Savage, also a BMX star, offered her a shoulder to lean on.
Her parents helped her financially, but she had to find the money herself to be able to keep up with her ambitions.
Never has an against-all-the-odds story been such a fairytale. She trained on a second-hand bike, but was unable to compete in competitions for 18-months due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Shriever took on a part-time assistant teaching job at Dame Bradbury’s Junior School in Saffron Walden to make a living and help raise the cash needed for a stab at a medal.
However, she knew that wouldn't be enough to get to Japan.
Then, she set up a crowdfunding page – begging for donations to pay for incurring costs associated with an Olympic campaign.
At the same time, her dad lost his job working in advertising production. The strain on the family would've been palpable.
Although she reached out to everyone, Bethany managed to raise just £4,496 through her GoFundMe page.
Luckily enough, British Cycling stepped in and eventually paid for her trip.
They moved her to Manchester, where she began to work hard on fulfilling her Olympic objective and training daily.
"We funded her for maybe two and a half years, where she had to compete at the World Cup to get the points," mum Kate told The Telegraph.
"Then we had a meeting with British Cycling because obviously Bethany is panicking and she needs his help. And they said, 'we will help her if she moves to Manchester'.
"She moved to Manchester just over two years ago, just before lockdown, and then it's just been working really hard since then. She's been so focused on it."
HER AMAZING FEAT
In the early hours of Friday morning, Bethany struck gold – holding off two-time Olympic champion Mariana Pajón from Colombia in a thrilling race.
Her reaction after her famous win was priceless, collapsing on the track and admitting she couldn't feel her legs.
Hilariously, she forget her Ps and Qs and swore live in her post-race interview.
"Honestly I’m in shock. Oh my god," she said. "To be here is an achievement in itself. To make a final is an achievement in itself.
I fought so hard for this and it's just amazing. I'm so grateful."
“To come away with a medal, let alone a gold, is crazy.
"I owe a lot to everyone. This means so much. I am so grateful for the support of people waking up. I am overwhelmed.
"Gold wasn’t my goal. Results are out of our control. I wanted to keep to my routine and keep my cool round the track. I managed to hold on and take the win.
"I was almost crying after Kye’s silver. I watched it before going up. I had to keep my cool and reset. And just f***ing…sorry, sorry.
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"I had to dig in. I had no legs left. I gave it everything I had. I had nothing left.
"The lactic acid was crazy. I gave it absolutely everything I had. I was rewarded, it is amazing.
"I cannot put this into words. This is every athlete’s dream and I have done it."
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