Cycling - BMX: More Olympic heartache for Shanaze Reade
Great Britain's Shanaze Reade again missed out on an Olympic medal in the women's BMX final, while Liam Phillips crashed out in the final of the men's competition.
This time there was no dramatic last-corner crash for Reade, who memorably fell at the final turn in Beijing four years ago. Instead, it was a slow start which killed her chances of a top-three finish.
Colombia's Mariana Pajon – who carried her nation's flag at the opening ceremony last month – took gold with her fourth superb run of the afternoon, while New Zealand's Sarah Walker and Netherlands' Laura Smulders secured silver and bronze, respectively.
The men's BMX final was won by Latvia's Maris Strombergs, with Australia's Sam Willoughby taking silver and Pajon's Colombian compatriot Carlos Mario Oquendo Zabala finishing third.
Reade was the star attraction on the final day of the BXM competition, with Prime Minister David Cameron and former England football captain David Beckham watching on from the sun-kissed stands of the London Velopark, hoping to see the Crewe-born biker secure another gold medal for Great Britain.
The early signs were certainly encouraging. Reade sealed pole position once and two second-place finishes during the heats, which entitled her to choose a lane for the start of the final.
But she was slow out of the blocks in lane one – and eventually finished way back in sixth place.
"Today's schedule has been pretty hard," Reade told BBC Sport. "I just tried to stay focused and do my best and it just wasn't good enough.
"At the moment, I'm pretty emotionless. I'm sure it'll sink in. I can't thank all these people enough for supporting me and I don't really know what to say. I just didn't get the start I needed to win the race and that was it."
Phillips, meanwhile, was similarly disappointed after occupying third-place in the early stages of the race before cruelly crashing out half-way around the circuit.
However, the 23-year-old was thrilled with the crowd's reception, and wants to experience the same again in Brazil four years from now.
"I probably got the best start of my life. But I overshot the second jump and probably the first," he commented. "On the step up Sam Willoughby changed the way he was going and I thought I was going to crash then but I managed to unclip and stay up.
"You can't compete with those guys if you make a mistake like that. I'm bitterly disappointed."
Phillips then added: "I'm pleased as 10 weeks ago I was having surgery on my shoulder. I've defied all expectations to be here let alone be in contention.
"I'm speechless about the reception me and Shanaze have had from the crowd. I'm already thinking about Rio. I thought my BMX days were over but I am back."
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