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Beth Shriever knows she is the one to watch in Glasgow
Fellow Olympic medallist Kye Whyte also returns to action on home turf for first time since making British BMX history.
Beth Shriever has had a lot of adjusting to do since becoming an Olympic champion.
Life has been a “whirlwind” off the bike as the 23-year-old grows accustomed to the fame that comes with the BMX title she won in Tokyo last summer, but Shriever must also adjust to the attention that comes on the bike.
All eyes will be on her this weekend at the BMX Racing World Cup round in Glasgow, the first event she and Tokyo silver medallist Kye Whyte have enjoyed on home turf since the glorious day last summer when they made British BMX history with the nation’s first Olympic medals in the discipline.
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Shriever went on to add a world title just two weeks later, and has now made herself a marked woman amongst her rivals.
“It has brought its challenges,” Shriever told the PA news agency. “Mentally more than anything else. Now I’m the one to watch, that’s something new to overcome. I think I’ve done that pretty well.”
The results certainly back up her assertion. Shriever goes into Glasgow on the back of two wins in the European Cup, wearing well her new-found status as the one to beat.
“I’m talking a lot to my psychologist and it’s going amazingly well,” she added. “I’m just the quickest I’ve ever been. It helps give me confidence going into every race.
“(This weekend) there’s obviously a bit more pressure – my mum and dad and boyfriend are coming to watch as well!”
Shriever took time off after her double triumph last year, needing time to reset her goals after the flurry of success.
“I had to talk a lot about (new goals),” she said. “You’ve done it in a way – you’ve reached the pinnacle, so what’s next? Your brain has to have something to aim towards.
“We had to sit down and talk about future races, wanting to be the best ever, to win a World Cup series. I still have goals and aspirations to aim towards.”
While Shriever will go to Glasgow in superb form, Whyte has had plenty of catching up to do in recent weeks.
His reward for Olympic fame was a place competing in ITV’s Dancing On Ice – a great experience, and a great opportunity for this passionate advocate of a growing sport, but one not ideal for his race fitness.
“For me, it was about having fun and about trying to boost my career, get my name out there, to help BMX get the limelight because as a sport it’s not where I think it should be,” he said.
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“It’s made me a bit slower but it’s nothing I can’t fix.”
It is not just by performing pirouettes on ice that Whyte has made his mark since Tokyo – the 22-year-old is now also the subject of a huge mural on the side of the Prince of Peckham pub close to home in south London.
Not all the trappings of fame have come his way, though. Britain’s Olympic medallists generally got bumped to first class on the flight home from Japan last summer, but Whyte revealed he missed out as the women’s football team managed to land an upgrade and take all the seats.
“I have a problem with those ladies,” Whyte said with a smile. “We were in business but they were in first class. Beth got lucky because one of the flight attendants was from her hometown in Essex and knew her mum.
“They gave her a bottle of champagne, she went to first class.”