‘It’s an unbelievable journey I’ve had – I’m so stoked to win a medal’ – Portsmouth’s Declan Brooks wins Olympic BMX freestyle bronze in Tokyo

Portsmouth’s Declan Brooks produced a brilliant performance to win BMX Freestyle Park bronze - just two months after being left unconscious by a horror crash that put his Olympic dreams in doubt.

By Simon Carter
Sunday, 1st August 2021, 9:04 am
Declan Brooks wins bronze. Photo by Jeff PACHOUD / AFP.
Declan Brooks wins bronze. Photo by Jeff PACHOUD / AFP.

Brooks thought his ambitions were over after he was 'scraped off the floor' and taken to hospital, but the 25-year-old former Cams Hill School pupil is made of 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 gold and silver in BMX Racing on Friday.

He had a long wait after his 90.80 second run to learn his medal fate - watching six rivals take on his score.

Declan Brooks during the Men's Cycling BMX Freestyle Final at the Ariake Urban Sports Park. Picture: Mike Egerton/PA Wire.

Australia's Logan Martin took gold while Venezuela's Daniel Dhers edged out Brooks for silver in the first Games in which BMX Freestyle Park has been held.

Big home hope Rim Nakamura was the last to try and shift Brooks from the podium but he settled for fifth, with all four of Team GB's BMX athletes winning medals on Olympic debut in Tokyo.

Brooks, 25, said: ‘I’ve just cried for the past couple of minutes. It’s an unbelievable journey I’ve had on the way here, I’m just so stoked to win a medal.

‘I don’t think it’s going to sink in today. For Charlotte [Worthington] to do her thing today, a score out there and tricks we’ve never seen before, it was harder for me to focus in.

Declan Brooks poses with his medal. Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

‘I knew the run I wanted to pull, I still missed a few bits out today. I’d have liked to have done more but third place for me was mental.

‘It’s such a high-pressure situation that, these are world-class athletes. I was crossing my fingers, I can’t believe it.

‘I just hope it [BMX] gets the coverage it deserves. I’m sure everyone at home is watching as well, to my family – thank you so much for supporting me over the years, it’s been an absolute journey.’

It was back iIn June that Brooks almost cost himself a place at these Games when he knocked himself unconscious attempting a double backflip at the world championships in Montpellier..

Declan Brooks competes during the Men's Park Final, run 2, of the BMX Freestyle. Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images.

‘(The crash) was always just sitting at the back of my head,’ he said. ‘That’s why I put it right at the start, I wanted to get it out of the way and I just made that landing perfect.’

Brooks sat in provisional second until the veteran Dhers, 36, posted a 92.05 for Venezuela.

Neither man could match Martin, the Australian who boasts a full-size BMX track in his backyard, as his physics-defying run earned a score of 93.30 and gold without him even needing to complete his second run.

Declan Brooks celebrates on the podium. Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images.