Buchanan’s Roberts headed to Paris Olympics

Published 11:03 am Sunday, June 23, 2024

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BUDAPEST, Hungary — It has been a roller coaster ride for Buchanan graduate Hannah Roberts, but the five-time World Champion is returning to the Olympics.

Roberts., who captured a silver medal in Tokyo four years ago, won the final round of the Olympic Qualifying Series to earn a spot on Team USA.

Roberts, who scored 93.48 in the final in Budapest on Saturday, will be joined by teammate Perris Benegas (91.92) and Jiaqui Sun of China, who finished third with a score of 91.30.

Great Britain’s Charlotte Worthington, who captured gold in Tokyo, finished 10th and is in danger of not qualifying.

“To come here and take the win is cool,” Roberts said. “I’m super pumped and I’ve got my ticket to Paris. I think the series is super cool. It’s a cool opportunity to solidify your spot early.”
Unlike 2024, to earn a spot for Paris, riders had to compete in a two-part series, which began in Huangpu Riverside, Shanghai, in May and ended in Ludovika Campus, Budapest, this past weekend.

Roberts, a member of USA Cycling’s Elite Women’s National Team, began riding at the age of 9. She chose freestyle due to her cousin Brett Banasiewicz, who was one of the top riders in the United States in 2011.

Banasiewicz would open up the Kitchen BMX and Skatepark in his hometown of South Bend. Roberts started trailing there and would make her BMX Freestyle debut at the age of 12. By the time she was 17, she won the first-ever BMX Freestyle World Championship at the first UCI Work Championships in Chengdu, China.

She also won world titles in 2019, 2021, 2022 and 2023.

In 2019, after finishing third at the world championships, Roberts turned in a season for the ages, winning every single World Cup competition to take the series championship before going on to win the Pan Am Games and the national championship.

In 2020, Roberts’ hometown of Buchanan turned out in huge numbers to watch the final day of competition at the Tokyo Olympics, and saw her, despite being injured captured the silver medal.

Her parents and family joined fans from around southwest Michigan to watch the competition on a big screen in Victory Park.

Her parents were not in Budapest this past weekend, but will be making the trip to the “City of Lights” to see their daughter go for the gold.

“My family is not here,” she said. “They are texting and calling me currently because I can hear my phone vibrating. I know they were watching; I know all of them are proud. They will be in Paris. Thanks to them for the love and support. Man, I’m going to cry. They’ve had my back through a lot of tough times. Here’s to my second Olympics.”