The 29-year-old Colombian cyclist, two-time Olympic gold medalist and BMX World Champion, had to settle for the silver in the women’s BMX racing competition at the 2020 Tokyo Games.
Bethany Shriever of Britain ended Pajon’s bid for a third straight Olympic gold medal, pulling away from the Colombian in the women’s final, in what turned out to be a gripping final on an accident-marred day.
Shriever, an underdog in the competition, said she knew Pajon was gaining down the final straight but managed to keep a cool head.
“When I saw her coming next to me I knew I had to stay smooth, so that’s what I did and managed to hold it to the line. Mariana is an absolute inspiration to me and she’s the only rider I’ve ever really looked up to.”
Pajon took defeat gracefully.
“She was really fast, she did an amazing job,” she said.
Despite having to settle for silver, Pajon has earned her place in Colombian sports history, becoming the first Colombian athlete to win three Olympic medals in their lifetime.
Known as the “The Queen of BMX,” Pajón won her first national title at age of 5 and her first world title at 9. She had won BMX golds at the 2012 London Games and 2016 Rio Games.