TOKYO -- St. Cloud-native Alise Willoughby came up short in her bid to defend the silver medal she won in the Rio Olympics.

After having an outstanding first night of competition in the BMX cycling event on Wednesday night winning all three of her runs, she faltered in the semifinal round on Thursday night.

Willoughby did not finish the first run in her heat giving her eight points out of the eight competitors in the heat.  She came back and got third in the second run for another three points.  But then she finished seventh out of eight in the third and final run.  Her total points of 18 were last in her heat.

After a crash in the first run, she was able to ride to third in the next round, then had her eyes set on the win so she knew she would advance to the finals. Determined for the first spot, Willoughby passed Saya Sakakibara (AUS) and the riders collided, keeping them both out of the main event.

Willoughby explained the crash in more detail.

“I’m just very disappointed because I know where I was really at, and today just wasn't my day to execute that… I was coming by and we clipped bars a little bit going up the lip, and that's never good. I was in a hard spot from the word go, having that crash in the first round, and I needed low points, so you have to push the envelope a little harder than you want to. It's unfortunate. Saya was riding well, also.”

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The top four finishers in her heat were Felicia Stancil of the USA with seven points, Mariana Pajon of Columbia with eight points, Merel Smulders of the Netherlands with 14 points, and Drew Mechielsen of Canada with 14 points.

In the women's final Great Britan's Bethany Shriever won the gold medal, Columbia's Mariana Pajon took the silver (she was the two-time defending gold medalist), and the Netherlands Merel Smulders took the bronze medal.  American Felicia Stancil finished fourth.


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