TOKYO (July 30, 2021) – Drew Mechielsen and James Palmer both made their Olympic debut on July 29-30 at the Ariake Urban Sports Park in Tokyo, where Mechielsen qualified for both the women’s BMX Racing semi-final and final rounds. She eventually crossed the finish line in 8th place, obtaining Canada’s second-best result in the women’s field since the event was introduced at the Beijing Olympics in 2008.
Drew finished among the top-5 in her three quarterfinal heats, earning her a spot in the semi-final round on Friday. Despite several crashes in the semi-finals, she remained unscathed and placed 3rd, 7th and 4th to advance to the final round, where she ultimately finished 8th.
“I am feeling really incredible,” said Mechielsen immediately after her race. “I would have liked to have a little bit of a better run in that last round but to make it to the finals was surreal. I’m happy with how I rode, obviously you want to win everything but my riding was the best that it could have been and that was my goal coming here.”
James Palmer unfortunately did not advance past the quarterfinal round despite finishing 4th in his last heat on Thursday.
“I struggled with the track out there and it took me a couple of laps to get going and fortunately I was able to put down a solid one in the last round but at that point I was a little too far out of the running to qualify for through,” said Palmer. “I’m happy with how I put everything into it, that’s something I can take away from this and be proud of.”
Canadian cycling events are on a two-day hiatus and will resume at the Izu Velodrome from August 2-8, showcasing both endurance and sprint competitions. All events can be streamed on CBC Olympics.