Drew Mechielsen (R) signed a young fan’s jersey at the Langley BMX track on Sunday, Aug. 1, her first day back from Tokyo where she rode into the finals. (Dan Ferguson/Langley Advance Times)

Drew Mechielsen (R) signed a young fan’s jersey at the Langley BMX track on Sunday, Aug. 1, her first day back from Tokyo where she rode into the finals. (Dan Ferguson/Langley Advance Times)

VIDEO: Langley BMX Olympian Drew Mechielsen gets a big welcome home

A surprise victory lap at her ‘home track’

Langley’s Drew Mechielsen received a hero’s welcome Sunday, riding a victory lap at the Langley BMX track while fellow riders cheered and waved flags and balloons.

Afterwards, she was besieged by young fans seeking her autograph on their helmets, jerseys and competition numbers.

Mechielsen had to use a borrowed bike, because she’d only just returned from Tokyo the night before, and hadn’t been told about the surprise celebration.

“I didn’t have time to build (re-assemble) my bike,” she explained.

Mechielsen was moved by a banner of support hanging at the track that was covered with signatures and encouraging messages.

“If I look at it too long, I’m going to cry,” she said.

Riders lined the Langley BMX track to welcome back Drew Mechielsen from the Olympics on Sunday. (Dan Ferguson/Langley Advance Times)

Riders lined the Langley BMX track to welcome back Drew Mechielsen from the Olympics on Sunday. (Dan Ferguson/Langley Advance Times)

Mechielsen started riding on the Langley track at the age of three, winning every award there was, and regularly returns, long-time rider Bea Lindsay-Hawkins told the Langley Advance Times.

“She comes back year after year to coach the girls,” Lindsay-Hawkins enthused.

“She keeps giving back.”

“This is my home track,” Mechielsen declared.

READ ALSO: Langley City’s Drew Mechielsen makes BMX finals in Olympic debut

Asked if she has decided to try for the next Olympics, Mechielsen said it was too soon to say.

“That’s TBD,” she commented.

“We’ll see.”

READ ALSO: Langley City woman headed to Tokyo Olympics on BMX team

At the Ariake Urban Sports Park in Tokyo on Thursday, July 29 and Friday, July 30, Mechielsen qualified for both the women’s BMX Racing semi-final and final rounds.

She eventually crossed the finish line in 8th place, which was Canada’s second-best result in the women’s field since the event was introduced at the Beijing Olympics in 2008.

Fellow BMX Olympian James Palmer signed a young rider’s helmet at the Langley BMX track on Sunday, Aug.1, which staged a surprise welcome-back for fellow Olympian and Langley rider Drew Mechielsen. (Dan Ferguson/Langley Advance Times)

Fellow BMX Olympian James Palmer signed a young rider’s helmet at the Langley BMX track on Sunday, Aug.1, which staged a surprise welcome-back for fellow Olympian and Langley rider Drew Mechielsen. (Dan Ferguson/Langley Advance Times)

Fellow Canadian BMX rider James Palmer did not advance past the quarter-final round despite finishing fourth in his last heat on Thursday.

Palmer, appeared with Mechielsen, said the Langley track was familiar territory.

“As a kid, I used to come here,” he recalled.

More photos from the day can be viewed online.


Is there more to the story? Email: dan.ferguson@langleyadvancetimes.com

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