Waltham Forest Echo

Waltham Forest Echo

Leytonstone’s Olympic gold medallist given honorary doctorate

Waltham Forest’s newest Olympic gold medallist received a further honour this week in the form of an honorary doctorate degree. Leytonstone-born Bethany [...]

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Leytonstone-born Olympic gold medallist Bethany Shriever (University of East London)
By Waltham Forest Echo 18 September 2021

Waltham Forest’s newest Olympic gold medallist received a further honour this week in the form of an honorary doctorate degree.

Leytonstone-born Bethany Shriever became the first and only Brit to win Olympic gold in BMX racing this July at the Tokyo Olympics, aged just 22.

A month later, she went on to win another gold medal at the 2021 BMX World Championships in the Netherlands. 

To celebrate her fantastic achievements, on 14th September, she was given an honorary doctorate of sport by the University of East London. 

At a graduation ceremony, she told students: “What I achieved hopefully proves to the world that you should keep believing in your dreams. We all have good and bad days. Whatever you want to achieve after today, stick at it, work hard, and it can come.

“Winning the gold was a life changing moment. When I crossed the line, I was full of excitement and was thinking ‘what has just happened?!’” 

The moment provided one of the iconic images of the Games, with Bethany and silver medallist and Team GB teammate Kye Whyte celebrating together on the finish line. 

She added: “It was so special to share that moment with him. We’d grown up together and worked so hard for what we wanted to achieve.” 

Bethany is now focusing on the 2024 Olympics in Paris and hopes to inspire more girls to get involved in BMX. When she eventually retires, she hopes to pursue a career in her other passion, early years teaching.

She told UEL graduates, many of whom plan to teach: “I know many of you here today will know what I mean when I say that teaching and supporting children to learn and develop gives you an amazing buzz. 

“I got to help them with their maths, reading and writing, and of course I started a cycling club at the school to inspire the next generation of BMX riders.”