Friends and family celebrate as Kye Whyte makes Olympic history with Team GB's first medal in BMX racing
Team GB celebrated double success on the BMX track at the Olympic Games as Beth Shriever won gold in the women's BMX racing final, moments after team-mate Kye Whyte claimed the nation's first Olympic medal in the event with silver in the men's.
The pair were two of Team GB's six medal tally on Friday, which brings the total to 24.
Former junior world champion Shriever from Leytonstone held off a late charge from defending champion Mariana Pajon of Colombia down the final straight.
Shriever collapsed in tears after the finish line before being lifted off her feet by a jubilant Whyte.
Shriever describes having to fund her own way throughout her career
"It's just been the race day of dreams," Shriever told ITV News, adding that her champion status hadn't yet sunk in.
While Shriever had earlier become the flagbearer for women’s BMX in Britain – she was junior world champion in 2017 – her progress suffered a setback when UK Sport decided to fund only male BMX riders following the Rio Olympics.
Shriever was able to receive some financial support from her parents, but she also had to move back to her family home, crowdfund and take up a part-time job as a teaching assistant. Her plight was eventually eased when British Cycling stepped in with funding.
Kye Whyte: 'I wanted to cry but I had to keep it together'
"It's been very up and down....but to now be fully funded is amazing, I'm so grateful to have that support," Shriever said.
Close friend and silver medallist Whyte also spoke of a rollercoaster career.
"It's been a ridiculously long journey, I've had some super bad injuries," he said.
Whyte has been riding BMX bikes since the age of three. Watching the action from his hometown BMX club in Peckham were Whyte's friends and family, who were overwhelmed by his second place finish.
On video-calling his family after clinching silver, Whyte said: "I couldn't even speak.
"I had the little gulp in my throat and I couldn't even speak past it. I wanted to cry but I had to keep in together."
No one was more proud than Kye's older brother, Tre Whyte, who was British National BMX champion and retired from competition in 2020.
Tre Whyte was overcome with emotion for his brother's success after he had promised to "bring something nice back to Peckham".
Kye Whyte's brother Tre Whyte, who was a British BMX champion, is overwhelmed with emotion
Tre believes the community will benefit, he said: "I've been saying that Kye can change the community, we've been there and done that, we have already changed the community.
"Kye has just taken it to the next two or three levels. Him and Beth together are changing BMX within British cycling, they're on the map," he added.
"He's going to change the community, he has to."
Whyte's parents also received a call from Olympic champion Beth Shriever's father, Paul, after their children made history.
Kye Whyte's parents speak to Beth Shriever's father
Nigel, Whyte's father, said to Paul Shriever: "I know it's been a long journey for you and you know it's been a long journey for us."
After her win, Whyte lifted Shriever into his arms as she told him she couldn't feel her legs.
Speaking to ITV News, Shriever's mum Kate said: "She'd just pushed herself to the absolute maximum and when she got off the bike, with all the lactic acid, she just couldn't walk.
An elated Kate and Paul Shriever talk to ITV News following their daughter's victory
"Her and Kye have become really close over the past two years training together and its just really lovely to see."
Shriever said she was forced to pull herself together after becoming emotional watching Whyte secure his silver.
Paul Shriever tells ITV News of the joy he experienced watching his daughter's performance in the women's BMX racing final
"I was watching him just as I was going up, I was almost crying because he got a silver," she said.
"I had to keep my cool, reset and dig in and like you saw I had no legs, I gave it everything I got."
At the pool, Duncan Scott claimed Team GB’s sixth swimming medal of the meet as he fell tantalisingly short of gold, coming second in the men’s 200m individual medley final.
Luke Greenbank took bronze in the 200m backstroke behind the Russian Olympic Committee’s Evgeny Rylov and Ryan Murphy of the US.
There was an outstanding performance by the men’s eight crew to take bronze in the regatta’s final event.
While Bryony Page claimed her second Olympic medal on the bounce with bronze in the women’s trampoline event at the Ariake Arena.