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Latvia, France take BMX golds

Latvia, France take BMX golds

World champion Maris Strombergs of Latvia won the men's BMX gold on Friday, sweeping to the front at the start of the winner-take-all final and never losing control in the sport's first-ever Olympic finals.
The French duo of Anne-Caroline Chausson and Laetitia Le Corguille took gold and silver, respectively, in the women's title race.
"It wasn't easy," said Chausson. "All the mistakes I've made in the last few races, in the last few years, I tried to show nothing of them in these games."
"It's really the work of two years to end up here. It's an immense satisfaction to get to here," said Chausson, 30, for whom this was the last competitive BMX race.
But BMX racing was born in the United States four decades ago, so perhaps it was fitting that on the sport's biggest day, American racers collected the biggest medal haul.
Mike Day and Donny Robinson won silver and bronze in the men's final, while Jill Kintner took the bronze in the crash-filled women's final.
"I'm super pumped," Day said. "I felt good all day. Everything kind of was clicking. I had a great start, I was just a little outside of Maris. But silver _ I'm psyched."
The day was filled with crashes, especially in Turn 1, a tight, banked, asphalt bend where mayhem broke out with amazing regularity.
The men's final came down to a race to the first turn, and Strombergs was the best. Day and Robinson stood on their pedals and chased with all they had, but the Latvian never slipped.
Strombergs said the most important thing was that the time he set in the final run of the semifinal allowed him to choose his gate in the final.
"I needed the fast lane, and I did it," he said.
In the women's race, the favorite was two-time world champion Shanaze Reade of Britain, who came back from a crash in the first run of the semifinal to qualify with the best time and the choice of gate in the final.
But she was behind Chausson coming into the final turn and as she tried to get past she clipped the Frenchwoman's wheel and went down.
Reade said later that she felt Chausson had been at fault, but Chausson believed the mistake was Reade's.
"I took a route that was not too open, and I was pretty surprised to see her trying to go inside me. I think she made a mistake," Chausson said.
Le Corguille said Reade's bike touched her after the crash but she managed to stay on and follow her compatriot across the line.
Kintner was delighted with her bronze.
"First woman for America, in the first event ever, first medal, it's such a piece of history," Kintner said. "I'm so glad I can represent and be a part of it."
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Associated Press Writer Naomi Koppel contributed to this report.


Updated : 2020-12-04 10:38 GMT+08:00