Felicia Stancil jumps during the Women's BMX semifinal at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 at Ariake Urban Sports Park on July 30, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan.
Felicia Stancil crossed the finish line oh-so-close to the podium in her Olympic debut this past summer in Tokyo. She never missed it the rest of the world cup season.
Stancil, a 26-year-old originally from Lake County, Illinois, closed out the UCI BMX Supercross World Cup season with consecutive second-place finishes over the weekend in Sakarya, Turkey. Following a win and runner-up finish last weekend also in Sakarya, Stancil wrapped up the world cup season in third place.
A multi-time world champion on the amateur and junior levels, Stancil made her Olympic debut in Tokyo and, on a day when two of Team USA’s best medal hopes in the sport crashed out, she nearly grabbed one herself, finishing less than a half-second away from third place.
A few weeks later, at the world championships in the Netherlands, Stancil crashed in the final and finished seventh.
She’s been on a tear ever since.
On Saturday, Stancil opened with a runner-up finish in her first-round heat, then took third in her semifinal to again move on. In the eight-woman final, the U.S. star moved into first at Turn 1 and stayed there most of the race until Laura Smulders of the Netherlands powered back down the stretch to surpass her.
One day later she won her first-round heat and was second in her semi. The final once again came down to Stancil and Smulders, with the American leading the entire way until being edged by just .094 at the finish line. The win was Smulders’ third in a row.
Mariana Pajon, a two-time Olympic champion from Colombia, was third both days to maintain her lead in the overall world cup standings.
Stancil, who now resides in Indianapolis, learned the sport from her dad, who was also a BMX racer. She’s already said her sights are set on another Olympic berth in 2024.