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Alise Willoughby wins third BMX racing world title, qualifies for fourth Olympics

American Alise Willoughby won a record-tying third world title in BMX racing and qualified for a fourth Olympics in Paris this summer.

Willoughby, 33, won the world championship in Rock Hill, South Carolina, on Saturday. She was followed by Swiss Zoe Claessens and American Daleny Vaughn, who qualified for her first U.S. Olympic team.

“I always say this place is a special place in my heart,” said Willoughby, who also won at the last worlds to be held in Rock Hill in 2017. “I wanted to deliver here.

“I’m just so proud to say that I’m still rising to potential in the latter part of my career, and I just want to keep digging.”

Willoughby is set to tie Kristin Armstrong’s record for the most Olympic appearances for a U.S. female cyclist, according to the OlyMADMen.

Willoughby won silver at the 2016 Rio Olympics, then crashed twice in the semifinals in Tokyo as reigning world champion. She previously won world titles in 2017 and 2019.

On Saturday, she tied the record for most women’s world titles held by Argentine Gabriela Diaz, Brit Shanaze Reade and Colombian Mariana Pajón. Willoughby also won her seventh career world medal, extending a women’s record she already owned.

Brit Bethany Shriever and Pajón, the last two Olympic champions, crashed out of the same semifinal.

In Saturday’s men’s race, France’s Joris Daudet won his third world title ahead of Tokyo Olympic gold medalist Niek Kimmann.

Cameron Wood, the highest-ranked American man, was taken out of his quarterfinal when another rider crashed into him. Wood was OK afterward, according to USA Cycling, and qualified for the Olympics via national team point standings.

Wood missed last August’s world championships after left shoulder surgery, then reinjured the shoulder in February and returned to competition in April.

The 2024 U.S. Olympic team roster of athletes updated as they qualify.