Team USA cyclist Jennifer Valente is a gold medalist after winning the Omnium track cycling event.
The American said clinching the win with spectators watching on made her victory more thrilling at the Tokyo 2020 velodrome.
Despite fans being unable to watch the vast majority of events at this year’s Games, organizers permitted a 50% capacity of up to 1,800 people at the track cycling venue.
“The spectators really made it feel like a race,” the 26-year-old Valente told reporters.
“We all kind of went into it thinking it was going to be a quiet venue, and a quiet velodrome, having that in the back of our heads that it was a possibility.
“To have spectators and feel the crowd and the energy definitely contributed to harder and faster racing.”
Valente’s victory was the USA’s first gold medal in track cycling since 2000.
“This result certainly has years and years behind it,” added Valente. “With my teammates we won silver in the team pursuit in Rio (Olympic Games 2016) and bronze here this week.
“This past year we had all the team pursuit riders living and training in Colorado Springs. I think that was a huge contributing factor, to be around my teammates and constantly pushing each other day in and day out in different kinds of training sessions.”