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Marian grad racing for Olympic history on BMX track

Felicia Stancil hopes to become the first American woman to win an Olympic gold medal in BMX racing.

COLUMBUS, Ind. — A Marian University graduate is going for the gold in BMX racing at the Tokyo Olympics.

Felicia Stancil gave 13News sports director Dave Calabro a look inside the intense 50-second BMX experience.

Nine riders pound through steep turns and catch big air in the event, where contact is part of the game.

Stancil has earned the right to wear the red, white and blue. 

"I'm more excited than anything. We've just been waiting for so long for this... and I feel very prepared, so yeah, I'm really excited," Stancil said. "I don't think the nerves hit me yet. I don't know if they will hit me. I am more excited than anything."

She started in BMX at the age of 4, riding with her father. Stancil is a natural, winning her first national title at the age of six and her first world title when she was nine.

She has gone on to win 14 world titles, but the only thing missing is an Olympic medal.

"The first time I saw BMX was the '08 Olympics, and that was the first time the sport was in the Olympics. Ever since I saw it in '08, it became a dream of mine. I've been working hard ever since," Stancil said.

Stancil spent hours upon hours in the Marian University weight room, building her strength and endurance. College life helped prepare her for her Olympic moment.

"I am so happy I went to Marian University. I don't know if I could have done what I did in such a short period of time without their amazing support," she said. "Missing a quiz during a race, they were so supportive of rescheduling stuff for me. Just to continue racing at such a high level, it was just a great school to go to for that."

RELATED: Hoosiers to watch at the Tokyo Olympics on Wednesday, July 28

She lives in Indianapolis and trains on a track in Columbus, which is long and flat, similar to the Olympic track in Tokyo. Even in central Indiana, the Olympic moments are on her mind.

"Going into the last turn, I remember feeling those really tired legs, but you have to keep pushing through that," she said. "So yeah, I've been playing out the race here."

Just one of 24 women in the world with a shot at Olympic gold, Stancil wants to make history.

"Winning a medal for USA would be such an honor. USA has won every medal in BMX besides the gold (in) women's," she said. "We've won gold, silver and bronze for guys and silver and bronze for girls, so it would be such an honor to win a medal and of course, I'll try my best to get that gold."

RELATED: Watch Wednesday's quarterfinal races

Stancil finished second in her heat Wednesday night and qualified for Thursday's semifinals. The semis will take place at 9:15 p.m. ET.

Riders ranked 1-4 after three runs will qualify for the finals, which takes place Thursday at 10:50 p.m. ET.

Cycling BMX racing will air live on CNBC.  

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