Team GB BMX rider and Tokyo 2020 silver medallist Kye Whyte was welcomed to the University of Hull’s campus this week to talk to students and staff as part of Black History Month.
Kye made history when he won Team GB’s first ever BMX medal at the Tokyo 2020 summer Olympics.
On Wednesday 6 October, Kye shared his inspirational story with students and staff at the University, as well as the challenges he faced coming from an ethnic minority background which made him more determined than ever to realise and achieve Olympic BMX history.
Kye said: “For me, being able to come and talk to students as part of Black History Month is a big deal – being a black rider at the Olympics and one of the youngest competitors, I wanted to go to Tokyo and prove a point.
“Growing up in Peckham, around people from a lot of different cultures, made me appreciate other people – the way they live and do things might be different to me, but it made me respect their traditions.
“I want to inspire other young black people to do great things, and to reach the top of whatever they do.”
Kye visited the University as part of two events to deliver inspirational talks on his unique story which covered his experience at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, family influences and the challenges he has overcome on his journey.
University of Hull student Esther Carter, who is currently working on the new ‘Green2Gold’ research project in collaboration with Team GB as part of a new PhD cluster initiative, said: “As someone who enjoys sport and loves watching the Olympics, I thought the ‘Proud to be an Olympian’ talk with Kye White would be a great event to attend.
“I really enjoyed listening to Kye talk about his journey from Peckham to Tokyo, the Olympic experience, and overcoming injuries and inequalities.
“The event nicely brought together the Team GB links and discussions around Black History Month. I’m glad I joined the talk and look forward to similar events in the future.”
The first talk was run by Hull University Students’ Union and centred around this year’s Black History month theme; ‘Proud to be…’. Sian Doherty, President of Sport, and Peace Igi-Ehon, President of Education, hosted the event and interviewed Kye throughout his talk.
The second event launched the University’s new Student Futures BAME Higher Series; a programme of supporting events to develop and encourage the career aspirations of BAME students.
Sian Doherty said: “Kye was so down to earth, it made it very easy to interview him!
“He was funny and incredibly open about his experiences, from his childhood to the Tokyo Olympics, and it was a joy to chat with him.”
Kye’s greatest achievement before Tokyo was the silver medal he picked up at the inaugural European Championships in Glasgow in 2018.
The athlete, who first started BMXing at the age of three, realised a family ambition by representing Team GB in the men’s BMX Supercross at Tokyo 2020.
After winning his silver medal, the team man cheered on training partner Bethany Shriever to gold as the duo dominated the event and made history.
Sally Scholes, Careers Advisor and member of the University’s Student Futures team, said: “It was a pleasure to involve Kye Whyte in the launch of the Student Futures BAME Higher Series.
“BAME Higher is a series of workshops, guest speakers and podcasts to explore, demystify and inspire students from BAME backgrounds to help them ‘find their extraordinary.’”
The University of Hull is an official partner of Team GB – incorporating both the Tokyo 2020 and Paris 2024 Olympic Games, and the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games.
The partnership provides opportunities for the University of Hull’s students, staff and communities, including participating in Team GB events, developing courses, guest speakers and CV-boosting opportunities such as work experience and volunteering.
Here are some other Black History Month events happening in Hull throughout 2021 and 2022.