There were scenes of mixed emotion in the New Zealand camp, as the BMX duo of Jessie Smith and Cailen Calkin finished their finals with a combined placing of fifth.
“There’s been ups and downs,” Calkin admitted. “We’ve both been World Champions but to represent New Zealand has been such a privilege.”
“I’m a little disappointed,” Smith said. “It is the Youth Olympic Games and I don’t think I can stay unhappy for that long… I tried my best and that was the best for me today.”
For the first time in their careers, Jessie Smith and Cailen Calkin raced as a team, and they both got off to a flying start.
Calkin progressed to the finals with top five placings in his heats and semi-final runs, while Smith lead the pack for most of her semi-final runs to line up as one of the favourites.
“I’m definitely stoked with the way I rode in my semi-final, but the final, it just wasn’t my day and that’s BMX racing,” Smith said.
Right alongside them, was mentor and BMX champion Sarah Walker.
“I’ve been helping her since I was a little kid, holding her drink bottle so for her to be here supporting me is amazing.”
As well as providing water support, Calkin was grateful she was also on hand to help with his intense cramps.
“I was crying in between races,” Calkin admitted. “I haven’t experienced pain like it.”
“I put it all out on the line, and that’s all you can really do in this sport, some things didn’t go my way, I didn’t have a good start… but I never thought I’d make it this far.”
While Smith and Calkin hoped they would be standing on the podium, they both admit they can be happy with a top five finish.
“It’s been an awesome experience, Smith said. “Hopefully one day I’ll compete alongside Sarah at the official Olympics, that’s the goal.”
Buenos Aires 2018 Olympic Summer Youth Games Cailen Calkin Jessie Smith Cycling - BMX