Strombergs, Pajon win Olympic BMX races

Latvian rider repeats his golden Beijing performance

Latvia's Maris Strombergs defended his Olympic BMX title Friday, stomping his way into the lead right out of gate and holding it all the way across the finish line. In the women's event, Colombia's Mariana Pajon took gold.

The win makes Strombergs an undefeated champion at the Olympic level. BMX made its debut at the Games four years ago in Beijing. Strombergs won that race, too.

For Strombergs, the win was a comeback of sorts, after a bad crash in late 2010 sidelined him with a smashed his hand, wrist and shoulder. He was not among the main favorites to win.

As BMX world champion, Aussie Sam Willoughby came into the race as a heavy favorite, especially after winning his semi-final. But Willoughby found himself chasing Strombergs, and could only claim silver. Colombia's Andres Eduardo Jimenez Caicedo took bronze.

For Pajon, her win brought Colombia its first gold of the London Olympics.

Pajon was the flagbearer for Colombia at the Olympic Games' opening ceremony. Like Strombergs, she led wire to wire.

Sarah Walker of New Zealand claimed silver and Laura Smulders of the Netherlands took bronze.

Great Britian's Shanaze Reade placed sixth.

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