Toyko Olympics Day 9: Gnarly haul of medals for BMX Freesylers

A world class action sports facility in Holly Springs produces three Olympic BMX Freestyle medals, including a silver by the park's owner Daniel Dhers

Daniel Dhers of Holly Springs makes a jump on his way to a sliver medal in the men's BMX Freestyle event at the Tokyo Olympics (AP Photo/Ben Curtis

They represented Venezuela, Switzerland and the United States. But the one thing Daniel Dhers, Nikita DuCarroz and Hannah Roberts all have in common — besides an ability to do gravity defying tricks on a bicycle — is that they all train for their sport at the same facility in Holly Springs.

And Sunday, they all became Olympic medalists.

Dhers, an American citizen who was born in Venezuela, won silver in the men’s competition in Tokyo. Roberts took silver in the women’s event riding for the U.S. while DuCarroz, an American whose father is from Switzerland, earned bronze.

All three, along with Americans Justin Dowell and Perris Bengas are all products of Dhers Action Sports Complex, a 37,000-square-foot indoor bike park designed by the five-time X Games gold medalist.

The facility’s owner, who at 36 years old was among the oldest competitors in the field, added an Olympic medal to his resume with a second run that included a combination of flares and one-handed tricks. His score of 92.05 bettered his first run score of 90.10 and put him on the podium behind gold medalist Logan Martin of Australia.

Roberts, a three-time world champion, looked to be on her way to a gold medal after landing a backflip with a tailspin for score 96.1 on her first run. Even after her score was topped by Charlotte Worthington of Great Britain, she still had a chance to place first, but she landed hard on a jump early in her second run and was unable to finish.

DuCarroz took the bronze medal with a first run of 89.20. Bengas finished just out of the medals in fourth with a score of 88.5. On the men’s side, Dowell crashed on both of his runs while attempting big air tricks and placed eighth.

Medal count

________________________________Gold    Silver    Bronze    Total

USA                                                20           23           16            59

China                                             24           14           13             51

ROC                                               12            19           13            44

Great Britain                                10            10          12            32

Japan                                             17            5              9             31

Carolina Connections

Cardinal Gibbons High School senior Claire Curzan and Charlotte’s Erika Brown might not have been in the pool when the U.S. women’s 4 x 100 medley relay team finished a close second to Australia on Sunday. But because they helped get the American team to the final with a strong butterfly leg in the preliminaries, both earned a silver medal along with the foursome that did swim the final — Regan Smith, Lydia Jacoby, Torri Huske and Abbey Weitzeil.

Randolph Ross of NC A&T comes out of the blocks as the start of his 400 meter dash heat in Tokyo (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)

World record holder Keni Harrison of Clayton moved safely into the final of the women’s 400 meter hurdles by finishing second in her semifinal heat to Jamaica’s Brittany Anderson in a time of 12.51. The top two finishers in each heat automatically moved on. Although NC State’s Gabby Cunningham finished fourth in her semifinal, her time of 12.67 was one of the two fastest that gained wild card entries into Monday’s medal race.

NC A&T sprinter Randolph Ross wasn’t as fortunate as Cunningham. The 2021 NCAA champion was edged out by for second in his opening round heat of the men’s 400 meters by Switzerland’s Ricky Petrucciani.  Although his time of 45.67 was just .03 away from gaining automatic qualification, it wasn’t fast enough for him to move on in the competition.

UNC diver Aranza Vasquez, diving for Mexico, placed sixth in the women’s 3-meter competition, in which American Krysta Palmer won the bronze medal while former Tar Heels sprinter Kenny Selmon finished fifth in his semifinal of the men’s 400 meter hurdles and did not qualify for the final. Shawn Rowe of St. Augustine’s, running for Jamaica, was also eliminated after finishing sixth in the heat.

Team USA Highlights

Xander Schauffele, propelled by a second round 63, won the Olympic gold medal in golf in a tense finish. Schauffele was tied for the lead with Rory Sabbatini of Slovakia with two holes to play, but went ahead with a birdie at No. 17. Sabbatini set an Olympic record with a 61 and won the silver. Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama missed a 12-foot birdie putt on the last hole that would have secured him the bronze. He was in a seven-man playoff for the final medal that also included recently crowned Open champion Collin Morikowa.

Two days after winning gold in the all-around competition, Suni Lee added a bronze medal 0n the uneven bars. Her score of 14.500 placed third behind Nina Derwael of Belgium and Russian athlete Anastasiia Iliankova. MyKayla Skinner, meanwhile, took the silver medal in the vault. Subbing for defending Olympic champion Simone Biles, she finished second to Brazil’s gymnast Rebeca Andrade.

Swimming star Caeleb Dressel finished off a memorable Olympic performance by cruising to a relatively easy victory in 50-meter freestyle, touching in an Olympic record of 21.07 seconds. He then returned to the pool to help the U.S. continue its dominance in the men’s 4 x 100 medley relay. Overcoming the disadvantage of swimming in Lane 1, Dressell teamed with Ryan Murphy, Michael Andrew and Zach Apple to win his fifth gold of the Games in world record time.

Bobby Finke, whose sister swam collegiately for NC State, won gold in the grueling men’s 1,500-meter freestyle race. Just as he did in winning the 800-meter freestyle, Finke stayed closed throughout the 30-lap race and turned on the speed at the end. He touched in 14 minutes, 39.65 seconds.

Next up

Harrison and Cunningham will race for medals in the final of the 110 meter hurdles on Tuesday while Holly Springs diver Andrew Capobianco tries to add an individual medal on the 3-meter springboard to the silver he won in the synchronized compeition earlier in the Games. On the soccer field, NC Courage stars Lynn Williams and Sam Mewis will try to help the U.S. past Canada and into the gold medal game.