Seattle BMX rider takes bronze at Olympics
By Tara Nelson
Seattle pro mountain biker Jill Kintner, niece of The Northern Light reporter and photographer Jack Kintner, won a bronze medal on the tough and competitive BMX bicycle course as last month’s Beijing Olympics.
It’s the first time the event has been held, and Kintner got her medal finishing just two one-thousandths of a second, or about one wheel’s length, ahead of the fourth place finisher with a time of 38.674 seconds.
She survived three preliminary elimination rounds, two days of rain delays and passed three crashes on her medal-winning ride.
“Insane insane insane!” the veteran pro rider gushed after finishing.
“Three was my lucky number all day. I was in lane three every round, finished third every lap, wore number 33, finished third overall and our USA team took home three of the six medals in BMX.”
Racing on a course that resembles a giant letter “S,” Kintner was in fifth place going through the second of three 180-degree turns. She moved up one place but was still out of medal contention until crash-prone Shanaze Reade of Great Britain crashed again.
Kintner rode around her and sprinted for the bronze medal behind two French riders.
A veteran BMX rider with 70 wins to her credit before taking up pro mountain biking, she returned to BMX last year specifically to qualify for the Olympics.
Kintner has dominated women’s mountain bike racing with three world titles over the last five years in the tricky and competitive four-cross event that send four riders at a time down parallel courses, winner take all in each heat.
A video of the final women’s and men’s BMX Olympic race is available for viewing by visiting www.nbcolympics.com/cycling/index.html.