Cycling-I want to be the best ever, says Olympic BMX champion Shriever

FILE PHOTO: Olympics - Team GB Tokyo 2020 Cycling Kitting Out - The National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham, Britain - June 21, 2021 Britain's Beth Shriever poses for a photo REUTERS/Molly Darlington

LONDON (Reuters) - British Olympic BMX champion Beth Shriever says her aim is to become the greatest female athlete in her sport as she looks ahead to defending her world title in July.

The 22-year-old won Britain's first gold in BMX racing at last year's Olympic Games in Tokyo and followed up with first place at the World Championship in the Netherlands.

Shriever became the first woman in BMX to hold both titles at the same time but has her sights set on plenty more.

"I would want to be able to say that I was the best ever female BMX athlete and that's quite a big statement to have," she told Reuters.

"But I think the only way I can do that is probably getting three (Olympic) golds, winning a few World Cups and loads of World Championships.

"I think the main thing is... I want to be able to say that I enjoyed every minute of it and I made the most of it. Because obviously not many people get to say they're a full-time athlete or get to say they've been to an Olympics.

"It's a big goal to set and if it doesn't happen, it doesn't happen but it's something to aim towards and I just want to enjoy the journey," she added in the Zoom interview from her training base in Manchester.

This year's World Championships take place in Nantes, France from July 26-31 and her attention will soon turn to the journey to the Paris Olympics in 2024.

A win in Nantes would take Shriever within one of Briton's three-times world champion Shanaze Reade, who transitioned to track cycling and won team sprint gold in 2007 and 2008.

"If I was to ever do any other sport, it'd probably be along the lines of track cycling, because I think that's the easiest way to transfer what I currently do to that," the Londoner said.

"But I think for now, BMX is just all I know and all I want to do at the moment... I want to try it properly and see if I am any good at it, but I won't be able to do that now until probably after Paris, just because it's quite full on.

"And racing from September counts towards the Games, so it's all just focusing on that."

One of the enduring images from last year's Olympics was of Shriever being lifted up in celebration after her victory by team mate Kye Whyte, who himself had won silver in the men's race minutes before.

"We've got a really good friendship and relationship, we're always having a laugh and bouncing off each other, so yeah it's really good," Shriever said.

(Reporting by Christian Radnedge,; Editing by Ed Osmond)

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