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Brave Brooks battles back from BMX horror crash to land brilliant Olympic bronze

·3-min read
TOKYO 2020 - ‘THE FIRST TIME EVER!’ – CHARLOTTE WORTHINGTON CLAIMS GOLD WITH HISTORY-MAKING BACKFLIP IN BMX FREESTYLE
TOKYO 2020 - ‘THE FIRST TIME EVER!’ – CHARLOTTE WORTHINGTON CLAIMS GOLD WITH HISTORY-MAKING BACKFLIP IN BMX FREESTYLE

From James Toney in Tokyo

Declan Brooks produced a brilliant performance to claim Olympic BMX freestyle bronze - just two months after a horror crash left him unconscious, his Tokyo dreams in doubt.

Brooks thought his ambitions were over after he was 'scraped off the floor' and taken to hospital but the 25-year-old is made of teak tough stuff.

And less than an hour after team-mate Charlotte Worthington had won the women's title, Brooks added a fourth medal to Britain's BMX haul - following Bethany Shriever and Kye Whyte's racing gold and silver on Friday.

"I went a bit crazy when Charlotte got the gold but then it was back to me, she'd done her job and now it was my turn," he said after a competition broadcast live on Eurosport and discovery+ .

TOKYO 2020 - 'IT FEELS AMAZING' - BETHANY SHRIEVER AND KYE WHITE ON THEIR BMX GOLD AND SILVER MEDALS
TOKYO 2020 - 'IT FEELS AMAZING' - BETHANY SHRIEVER AND KYE WHITE ON THEIR BMX GOLD AND SILVER MEDALS

"That double back flip was sitting in my head after what happened so it felt really great to land.

"The last time I tried it in competition and I was left unconscious, so it feels good to get it. I had ten days off and thankfully my shoulder got better, we just had to make sure I was mentally and physically ready for this.”

Brooks had a long wait after his 90.80 second run to learn his medal fate - watching six rivals take on his score. Australia's Logan Martin took gold while Venezuela's Daniel Dhers edged out Brooks for silver. Big home hope Rim Nakamura was the last to try and shift Brooks from the podium but he settled for fifth.

"I know every guy could win but that was a long wait to find out about the medal, it was probably only ten minutes but it felt like an hour,” added Brooks.

"When I started out this journey of riding BMXs 15 years ago I never thought it would be in the Olympic Games."

Britain it seems is BMX - these kids from the streets are taking on the world and winning. Don't try this at home kids. Actually, do.

TOKYO 2020 OLYMPICS - WILD, GOLDEN SCENES AT BMX, DRAMA IN THE POOL AND TRACK ACTION HITS TOKYO - MORNING UPDATE
TOKYO 2020 OLYMPICS - WILD, GOLDEN SCENES AT BMX, DRAMA IN THE POOL AND TRACK ACTION HITS TOKYO - MORNING UPDATE

Brooks admitted he had to calm himself after watching his friend Worthington’s performance just moments before his competition.

"That was unbelievable. I knew she could do it, that's such a hard score it would have been hard to anyone to beat that and I'm super proud of her," he added.

"It was hard to switch my focus back to me but we've actually been working on what would happen in that situation.

"Charlotte did her job and then it was down to me, it feels great to have both got it done."

Worthington cooks up a mean chiles en nogada but also found a prized recipe to make Olympic history in Tokyo.

It's just four years since Britain's latest Olympic champion was pulling long shifts as a chef in a Mexican restaurant in Manchester.

TOKYO 2020 - 'DON'T GIVE UP' - BRYONY PAGE'S MESSAGES TO ATHLETES STRUGGLING WITH CONFIDENCE
TOKYO 2020 - 'DON'T GIVE UP' - BRYONY PAGE'S MESSAGES TO ATHLETES STRUGGLING WITH CONFIDENCE

Now she's the first-ever BMX Freestyle gold medallist - and she pulled off a trick never previously seen to do it, a dizzying, gravity-defying, heart-in-mouth 360 backflip that left rivals shaking their head in disbelief and admiration.

And she paid special tribute to the role Brooks has played in her journey to the top of the Olympic podium.

"We spent a lot of time living in each other’s pocket and we really complement each other," she said.

"He's very level headed and there are times he has really calmed me down. I'm so grateful he's part of the team.

"Together our mantra has been to breath. I know we can do these tricks but mentally you need your head to be calm enough to land them. Both winning medals feels so special."

Stream every unmissable moment of Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 live on discovery+, The Streaming Home of the Olympics.

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