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Alise Willoughby Secures Third BMX Racing World Title and Fourth Olympic Qualification

BMX racing celebration podium.

Alise Willoughby Clinches Third BMX Racing World Title and Qualifies for Fourth Olympics

Rock Hill, South Carolina – On a brilliantly sunny day, BMX racing champion Alise Willoughby achieved yet another milestone in her illustrious career. The 33-year-old American registered a record-tying third world title win at Rock Hill and, concurrently, qualified for a fourth appearance at the Olympics slated for this summer in Paris.

A Historic Win

The Rock Hill world championship saw Willoughby clinch the title, with Swiss Zoe Claessens trailing in second place, and American Daleny Vaughn, who qualified for her first U.S. Olympic team, in third place. The victory wasn’t just a win for Willoughby, it solidified her spot in the annals of BMX racing history.

“I always say this place is a special place in my heart,” gushed Willoughby, reminiscing her last world championship win at Rock Hill in 2017. “I wanted to deliver here. I’m just so proud to say that I’m still rising to potential in the latter part of my career, and I just want to keep digging.”

A Record in Sight

With this win, Willoughby is set to tie Kristin Armstrong’s record for the most Olympic appearances by a U.S. female cyclist, affording a fantastic boost to her already remarkable career. The 2016 Rio Olympics saw Willoughby winning a silver medal, an accomplishment slightly tarnished by her crashing twice in the semifinals in Tokyo while she reigned as the world champion. Hence, this win at Rock Hill reinstates her primacy in the world of BMX racing.

Equaling The Best

Saturday’s championship contributed to Willoughby clinching her third world title win, bringing her on par with the record for the most women’s world titles held by Argentine Gabriela Diaz, Brit Shanaze Reade, and Colombian Mariana Pajón. Besides this, Willoughby also extended the women’s record she held already by winning her seventh career world medal.

The Men’s Championship

Meanwhile, in the men’s race, France’s Joris Daudet emerged victorious to win his third world title, outpacing Tokyo Olympic gold medalist Niek Kimmann. Cameron Wood, the highest-ranked American man, suffered a setback when another rider crashed into him, leading to his exit from his quarterfinal.

Wood, who has been consistently keeping up his strong game, missed last August’s world championships due to left shoulder surgery. Shortly after, he reinjured that shoulder in February and returned to competition in April. But even in the face of these adversities, Wood has been showing remarkable resilience and already looking forward to his comeback.

A Look Ahead

The stage is set for the 2024 U.S. Olympic team active roster to update as athletes qualify for the grand event. Players, fans, enthusiasts, and sportspeople worldwide are eagerly anticipating the Paris Olympics, marking another chapter in history for the global sports culture.

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