Nick Bruce was on top of his game in the semifinal round of the UCI BMX Freestyle Park World Cup event Saturday in Montpellier, France, which paid off big time Sunday.
He topped the leaderboard in the semifinal round with 91.60 points, and was one of five Americans to qualify for Sunday’s final. When Sunday’s competition was called off due to rain, the scores from the semifinals stood and Bruce earned a gold medal and the prize money of 6,000 Euro ($7,166.41).
The win marked the second world cup gold medal of Bruce’s career. The UCI world cup series began in 2016, during which he won silver at the Edmonton, Alberta, stop. In the 2017 season, Bruce claimed his first gold at the Chengdu, China, stop in November.
He began the 2018 season with a fifth-place finish last month in Hiroshima, Japan.
The 26-year-old was one of the athletes named to the first-ever U.S. freestyle BMX team last December in anticipation of the event’s debut at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, though he is currently on the silver-level team.
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Also qualifying for the finals in France were Brian Fox, Colton Walker, Daniel Sandoval and Jake Leiva. Fox missed a podium finish by just four-tenths of a point. Finishing second was Logan Martin of Australia (89.40) and third was Marin Rante of Croatia (88.00).
The next freestyle park world cup is in July in Edmonton.
Paul D. Bowker has been writing about Olympic sports since 1996, when he was an assistant bureau chief in Atlanta. He is sports editor of the Cape Cod Times and a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.