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Kelsey Mitchell wins gold on the last day of the Tokyo 2021 Olympic Games

The first women's sprint gold since Lori-Ann Muenzer in Athens 2004

Kelsey Mitchell gold medal tokyo olympics Photo by: Sirotti

Kelsey Mitchell joined her compatriot, friend and sometime team sprint partner Lauriane Genest in earning a track cycling medal, winning the sprint gold on the final day of the Tokyo 2021 Summer Olympic Games. Mitchell beat Olena Starikova in two straight races to become the Olympic champion. It’s the first women’s sprint gold since Lori-Ann Muenzer in Athens 2004.

Mitchell had reached Sunday’s semi-finals by finishing second in the qualifying flying lap with a time of 10.346, beating Ukrainian rider Lyubov Basova in the 1/32 final, outpowering Australia’s Kaarle McCulloch in the 1/16 final and then getting the better of compatriot, pal and keirin bronze medalist Lauriane Genest in the quarter final.

In the semi-final Mitchell was matched up against German Emma Hinze, world champion in the individual sprint, keirin and team sprint. Hinze was also fifth in the sprint standings in the last full UCI World Cup, where Mitchell was second.

Mitchell dominated Race 1 to take the lead, but in Race 2 Hinze came around the Canadian to tie it up.

Hinze’s track stand in the rubber match forced Mitchell to the front. From there Mitchell opened up the afterburners and beat the German handily.

Soon after the semi-finals, there was a four-rider sprint for fifth to eighth places, with Lauriane Genest winding up her Olympic Games experience with eighth.

Genest takes eighth in the women’s sprint.

Gold Medal Final

Mitchell had Ukrainian Olena Starikova standing between her and gold. Starikova had beaten Hong Kong’s Lee Wai Sze in two straight races to get to her big moment.

In Race 1 Mitchell took the lead and then went up the track. Starikova started from far out but she just could not overtake the powerful Canadian.

Kelsey Mitchell gold medal tokyo olympics
Mitchell beat the Ukrainian in the first race, taking the advantage. Photo: Sirotti.

After Lee Wai Sze beat Hinze for the bronze, it was time for Race 2. Mitchell was at the back but then went to the front and climbed the bank to snatch some speed. Keeping the Ukrainian on her right hip, Mitchell kept clear and did not need a rubber match this time. The gold was hers.

Kelsey Mitchell gold medal tokyo olympics
After two straight wins over Starikova, Mitchell was the Olympic gold medalist.
Kelsey Mitchell gold medal tokyo olympics
Kelsey Mitchell with her gold medal from the Tokyo Olympic Games. Photo: Sirotti