Haley Batten, who started mountain biking at age 9 while growing up in Park City, is officially an Olympian.
USA Cycling verified the 22-year-old on Sunday cemented her spot among the three women the sport’s national governing body will send to compete in cross country mountain biking in Tokyo this summer. By placing second in the UCI World Cup long-track race in Nove Mesto, Czech Republic — where she won the U23 title in 2019 and the short-track title Friday in just her second race as an elite — Batten met the criteria USA Cycling had set out for automatic qualification.
Two of Team USA’s four tickets to Tokyo in mountain biking have now been punched.
Kate Courtney (Kentfield, Calif.), the 2019 World Cup overall champion, secured her position on the women’s team nearly two years ago by placing in the top five at the 2019 UCI World Championships. With the addition of Batten, that leaves one spot to be filled by a selection committee. One of the women vying for that spot is Salt Lake City resident Hannah Finchamp, 26, who finished 49th overall and fifth among the American women Sunday. The others include two-time Olympian Lea Davison (Jericho, Vt.), 2016 Olympian Chloe Woodruff (Tucson, Ariz) and four-time national champion Erin Huck (Estes Park, Colo.).
Only one man will be able to represent the USA in mountain biking in Tokyo. The choice is between Park City’s Keegan Swenson, 27, who is No. 79 in the current UCI rankings; and Christopher Blevins, 23, of Durango, Colo., who is currently ranked No. 30.
USA Cycling will announce its selections June 10.
The Olympic mountain biking races are scheduled to be held July 26 for the men and July 27 for the women (which will be one day earlier in Utah) near Izu, which is on a peninsula 75 miles southwest of Tokyo with views of Mount Fuji. Temperatures in that region in July average in the mid 80s with 80% humidity.