US BMX Prodigy Payton Ridenour Talks About Her Struggles to Prepare for Tokyo 2020 Olympics

Published 07/15/2021, 1:21 PM EDT
(Image credit – Payton Ridenour FaceBook)


BMX racing is an exhilarating sport that is set to be a part of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Cyclists race against one another on tracks specially equipped with obstacles and tight turns. 

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And starting from the steep starting ramp at the 2020 Olympic Games representing the US will be 19-year-old Payton Ridenour. Hailing from Pottstown, the cyclist booked her spot at the games by finishing second at the UCI World Cup held in Colombia last year. 

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The youngest member of the US women’s Olympic contingent, Ridenour recently sat down to talk about the complexities and challenges she faced during her path to Tokyo. 

Ridenour looking to leave a mark at 2020 Tokyo Olympics

Talking to Whyy.com, the Pottstown native was asked about how she prepared for the Tokyo Olympics amidst the pandemic. With her local track closed, the rider improvised and practiced on a track in her backyard made by her father.

“My local track was closed, and I couldn’t travel anywhere. So that track in my backyard was the best thing for me. I was out there almost every day, just practicing and trying to get better on my bike, because with BMX there’s always something new that you can learn,” she said.

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The cyclist also gave her view about the longer BMX track she’ll have to cover during the Olympic Games.  

“The course in Tokyo is significantly longer than a regular track, and the BMX tracks are going to be low-30s to mid-30s seconds long. But this track is going to be probably mid-40s.”

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When asked whether or not she is ready for Tokyo, the 19-year-old exuded confidence and gave a firm reply. 

“I’m ready. I’ve been training here in California, but I’ve been preparing for the games for a while now. Honestly, like I would say my whole BMX career because ever since I was little, I wanted to compete in the Olympics. I’ll definitely be ready.”

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Ridenour like hundreds of other premier athletes from across the globe sets off for what is to be her first taste of the Olympics. You can watch her compete live on July 29 when the women’s BMX Racing event kicks off.  

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Shivayan Roy

918 articles

Shivayan Roy is currently an NFL writer at EssentiallySports. After completing his Masters Diploma in Journalism from the Asian College of Journalism, Roy functioned as a reporter for Goal.com and extensively covered the FIFA U-17 World Cup.

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