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Glen Ellen’s Ducarroz wins bronze in Tokyo in BMX


By Brandon Sparks

Glen Ellen native Nikita Ducarroz won a bronze medal in BMX freestyle cycling at the Olympics in Tokyo on July 31. This was the first time freestyle cycling appeared at the Olympics, also making it Ducarroz’s first Olympics, so the win was especially meaningful. After the race, she told the media how much it meant to her and her coach and spoke about how great it’s been to interact with her fellow international competitors. “We were all just really happy to be here together,” she said. “We’ve been on this journey together for so many years, coming from there being like five of us at an event to now being at the Olympics.”

There are two rounds of competition for BMX freestyle cycling at the Olympics; whichever round you scored in highest is your final score for the event, so if you don’t do well in the first round, you have a second chance. After the first round of the event in Tokyo, Ducarroz finished in second place with a score of 89.20, but with a less-than-ideal second round, she was forced to keep that score. Several riders scored much higher in the second round, including Charlotte Worthington of Great Britain, who walked away with a gold medal with a score of 97.50, pushing Ducarroz down to third place.

Nikita’s mother, Nicole Ducarroz was in Switzerland, where Ducarroz spent her summers when she wasn’t in school in the Sonoma Valley, with Swiss family to watch Ducarroz on the international stage. Back in Glen Ellen, dozens of spectators gathered to celebrate the medal Ducarroz will bring home. One of those spectators was Ducarroz’s aunt, Jules Abate.

“It was amazing,” she said. “They put up a screen and a projector. There were a lot of parents and students from her school there. It was just amazing.” Ducarroz has been managing anxiety all of her life, and during the postrace news conference, she was asked about how she felt. “It’s definitely not away,” she said. “It’s very much here. I was panicking today, and it happens every day. But I have to just learn to find tools to manage it and stay as calm as possible … The worst part is the waiting, before the contest. But once we drop in, except for waiting for my score, everything seems to calm down a bit.”

At past competitions, her mother, Nicole Ducarroz, has always been there for her daughter, supporting and watching her at every event. With her mom there, Nikita’s anxiety was much more manageable and allowed her to do her absolute best. Nicole wasn’t able to speak to Nikita after the finals because of news conferences, but she was able to talk to her coach, who was crying tears of joy.