Molly Simpson has won her first career Pan Am Games medal.
The Red Deer native raced to a silver medal in the Women’s BMX Racing Final at the Santiago 2023 Pan American Games on Oct. 22 Chile.
The 20-year-old was third after Saturday’s seeding runs before capturing the silver Sunday. Simpson finished the race in 36.000 seconds, just behind winner Mariana Pajón Londoño of Columbia and her time of 34.400.
SILVER for Molly Gwen Simpson 🇨🇦 🥈— CBC Olympics (@CBCOlympics) October 22, 2023
The Canadian raced to a 2nd place finish in women's BMX racing pic.twitter.com/lbcPMcTJoH
“Honestly, I think that was the craziest race I’ve ever raced,” said Simpson in a Cycling Canada press release.
“Came out of lane five and decent start, just tried to get over but there was carnage, people were hitting tires and it was just crazy. I did my best to get out of that and hold that second spot. I looked up to Mariana Pajón for so long, she’s two-time Olympic gold medallist, she’s my idol so placing behind her is just amazing. It shows that I’m almost there and I’ve just got to keep working and I’m really enjoying it.”
Simpson was second in her quarter-final heat with a time of 35.300, and third in her semi-final heat with a time of 35.400.
“Molly battled throughout the day, had a small mistake in her second semi-final, which we capitalized on by learning moves to make in the final. I’m really happy she performed her best to take the silver medal,” said Adam Muys, Canadian National Cycling Team Coach.
Simpson has had a strong start to her BMX season, with top-five finishes in the first four World Cup races.
She is also no stranger to success on the international stage, having captured the U23 Women’s bronze medal at the 2022 UCI BMX Racing World Championships. She won her first UCI World Cup elite medal in October 2021.
As of Monday afternoon, Canada had 34 medals at the Pan Am Games.
Red Deer’s Jeremiah Lauzon will compete in Track and Field in the 200m race next week. Red Deer’s Keegan Soehn, 31, will compete in trampoline, starting on Nov. 3. Soehn won back-to-back Pan Am Games gold medals in 2011 and 2015.