Hannah Roberts competes during the women's BMX freestyle race at the Pan American Games Lima 2019 on Aug. 11, 2019 in Lima, Peru.
Hannah Roberts nailed down her second BMX freestyle park world title in three years on her first run Sunday in Chengdu, China.
Roberts began her run at the UCI Urban Cycling World Championships with a 360-degree trick followed by an upside-down flip. She turned both tricks perfectly and wound up with a score of 90.0 in her run.
The emotions soon hit Roberts. The 18-year-old from Buchanan, Michigan, rubbed tears from her eyes just before beginning her shortened victory lap on her second run.
“I’ve put in a lot of work,” Roberts said on the webcast. “To see that work pay off means a lot.”
Placing second behind Roberts was Macarena Valentina Perez Grasset of Chile with a score of 86.8. Charlotte Worthington of Great Britain was third with a top score of 86.54.
Roberts also won the world championship in 2017 and finished third in 2018, completing a one-two-three American sweep last year. She won all three world cup competitions this year to take the world cup overall championship one week ago.
Perris Benegas, the 2018 world champion and a medalist in all three world cups this year, was out of the podium competition after a hard crash following her first jump on her second run. She had scored 62.2 on her first run. Benegas placed eighth. Fellow American Chelsea Wolfe placed 11th with a score of 51.4.
The initial Olympic competition in BMX freestyle will consist of nine women and nine men, with no more than two cyclists per gender per nation. The qualification period goes through May 12, 2020, and the current top-ranked riders are both from the U.S.
If the U.S. is in the top spot in the UCI Olympic Qualification rankings next year, then it would get two quota spots per gender for Tokyo.
Paul D. Bowker has been writing about Olympic and Paralympic sports since 1996, when he was an assistant bureau chief in Atlanta. He is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.