Public radio from Western Michigan University 102.1 NPR News | 89.9 Classical WMUK
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

An athlete from Berrien County gets ready for the Olympics

Hannah Roberts poses with the her first place trophy from the BMX Women's Freestyle Park Finals. The trophy is uniquely shaped, the based of the trophy is a white almost square like shape with the events location, Budapest, and logo printed on the front. Above the large base, sits an even more abstract top piece. It starts out normal, with a short black pole handle for Hannah to grip, but at the top sits what looks like a shattered bowl frozen in place. A gold halo like ring stands out at the top. Hannah has short cut dark blonde hair, shaved short on the sides. Around her neck sits a thin metal chain necklace, a cross dangles from the chain. Rounding out her outfit is the blue and white US National BMX Freestyle Team jersey. Big bold white letters spell out "USA" along with the aforementioned team name, with a thin red line sitting below the text. A white flag can be seen on Hannah's shoulder on the right, with her other arm lifting the trophy high into the air.
Denes Erdos
Hannah Roberts of the U.S. poses during a medal ceremony after winning the BMX women's freestyle park finals at the 2024 Olympic Qualifier Series held in Budapest, Hungary, Saturday, June 22, 2024.

After qualifying on Saturday, 22-year-old cyclist Hannah Roberts is headed to the City of Light to compete with Team USA.

Hannah Roberts grew up in the Berrien County community of Buchanan. She will compete in BMX Freestyle, a sport characterized by flips and other tricks performed by cyclists.

This is not her first time at the Olympics. She won silver in Tokyo in 2021. She said she thinks she might have done even better if she hadn’t been so focused on winning. She said this time things will be different.

“That’s not the main focus for me. The main focus is just doing what I know I can do on my bike, and wherever that puts me, I'm gonna be grateful.”

Roberts said she’s proud to represent the country and Buchanan.   

“To represent my hometown where I grew up, and the people that helped me so much in the beginning stages of my career with school and everything, it's an absolute honor.”

Roberts’ journey to the City of Light coincides with the 100th anniversary of Buchanan native runnerJackson Scholz, winning gold in the 1924 Olympics, also in Paris.

“To be able to go and be the 100-year return for Buchanan athlete is obviously extremely cool. And I'm pretty stoked.”

Michael Symonds reports for WMUK through the Report for America national service program.

Report for America national service program corps member Michael Symonds joined WMUK’s staff in 2023. He covers the “rural meets metro” beat, reporting stories that link seemingly disparate parts of Southwest Michigan.