BMX Racer Felicia Stancil Is Within Striking Distance Of World Cup Title After Big Weekend
by Chrös McDougall
Felicia Stancil competes during the women's BMX semifinal at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 on July 30, 2021 in Tokyo.
Felicia Stancil, who posted Team USA’s top finish in BMX racing at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, cruised to another strong showing over the weekend at the UCI BMX Supercross World Cup in Sakarya, Turkey, where she finished first on Saturday and second on Sunday.
The competitions were the first on the world cup level since the Tokyo Games, where Stancil finished fourth. The world cup season wraps up this weekend with two more competitions in Sakarya.
Stancil came out hot in Saturday’s competition, winning her heat and quarterfinal before claiming second in the semifinal. Going up against a strong field in the final that included two-time Olympic gold medalist Mariana Pajon of Colombia, Stancil led from wire to wire while finishing in 37.656.
Eliska Bartunkova of the Czech Republic was the only rider to finish within a second of Stancil, crossing the line in 38.445.
Coming back for another round of racing Sunday, Stancil snuck through the first round in fourth place, then finished second in her semifinal to move on to the big race.
After once again getting a strong start and leading much of the race, Stancil fell to second place down the stretch, finishing just .226 behind winner Laura Smulders of the Netherlands, the 2012 Olympic bronze medalist.
The daughter of a pro BMX racer, Stancil, 26, grew up racing in the north suburbs of Chicago and won 14 world titles at the amateur and junior levels. Moving up to the elite level, she ranked second in the world cup standings in 2019 and made her Olympic debut in Tokyo.
Now she could be in position to contend for a world cup season championship.
Pajon maintained her lead in the world cup standings after the first weekend of racing in Sakarya, but Stancil is one of two Americans within striking distance, with both her and Payton Ridenour among the top five.