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In order to keep her Tokyo Olympics dreams alive after the United Kingdom cut funding for female BMX riders, Bethany Shriever improvised.
Two years ago, the 22-year-old athlete launched a crowdfunding page to raise money to help her train and enter the Summer Olympics, currently underway in Japan. According to Sky News, Shriever raised nearly $70,000 thanks to her campaign, and every cent paid off.
On Friday, Shriever took home the gold medal in women's BMX racing at the Olympics, joining her male counterpart, Kye Whyte, who earned silver for the U.K. in the men's event.
"It's a bit surreal, it's a bit mad, I haven't even spoken to my family yet," Shriever told reporters after the win, according to Sky News. "I can't wait to speak to all them and see how they're feeling. I saw them at the end there getting all emotional and it's just amazing, I can't believe it."
It was during the 2016 Rio Olympics that UK Sport — the government agency responsible for investing in Olympic and Paralympic sport in the country — decided to eliminate funding for female riders after none qualified for the Games, the BBC reported.
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"It was such a shock and just so out of the blue," Shriever told the outlet.
She added: "We were like, 'what do we do and how can we make it work?' When I was younger British Cycling took me everywhere and paid for everything so it was a worry."
While British Cycling established a fund to support female riders, Shriever and her coach decided to create their own program, which came with its own financial difficulties.
"I have a bike sponsor and most of my kit is sponsored but it's finding money for the travel and races that's difficult and it's been a little bit stressful," Shriever told the BBC, adding that she has also taken up work as a teaching assistant.
UK Sport eventually reversed its decision not to invest in female riders last year, but Shriever decided to remain independent.
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Shriever's family said they enjoyed watching her dream come true.
"She's just such a lovely, caring and determined person," her mother, Kate, told Sky News. "She's had so many injuries — it's quite a dangerous sport — so she really deserves this."
She also got a shout-out from Oasis' Liam Gallagher. "Bethany Shriever what a ledge well done LG x," he wrote on Twitter.
To learn more about Team USA, visit TeamUSA.org. Watch the Tokyo Olympics now on NBC.