An Olympic BMX athlete walked away unscathed after a horrifying collision with an official during practice.
On Thursday, BMX rider Niek Kimmann suffered a shocking crash with an official while the 25-year-old was preparing to start the competition at the Olympics. Unfortunately, while training at high speed, the Netherlands native collided with an Olympic official crossing the Ariake Urban Sports Park.
Despite spectators yelling out, “watch out,” there was no stopping the accident. Thankfully, both Kimmann and the official were uninjured. After getting to his feet, Kimmann yelled, “what the hell?” at the official. Following the crash, Kimmann posted footage via his social media and added: “So this is what happened today.”
He added, “Hit an official that wanted to cross the 2nd straight. Hope the official is O.K.,” he added. “My knee is sore, but will do my best to be ready for Thursday! Thanks, everyone for the messages, appreciate it!”
Kimmann is expected to compete on Thursday and is believed to be a frontrunner alongside American Connor Fields.
BMX Rider & Olympic Official Come Away Uninjured After Collision
His tragic crash came on an unlucky day for Dutch BMX riders. His fellow Dutch competitor, Mathieu van der Poel, lost his chances at winning gold during the men’s mountain biking portion. Like Kimmann, his dreams were crushed by a crash in the early part of the race.
His opponent, Tom Pidcock of Britain, went on to win the event. However, pre-race favorite Van der Poel walked away angry after he alleged a ramp at the Sakura Drop, the part of the course where he wrecked, had been removed since his training.
He tweeted: “I didn’t know. The ramp was there during the recon. I only heard they removed it during the test event.”
With the 2020 BMX racing world championships canceled and the 2021 event not scheduled until late August, it is harder to pin down the Olympic Games’ frontrunners.
Team USA competitor Alise Willoughby, 30, won silver at the 2016 Olympics in Rio and remains reigning world champion. She was supposed to be riding with her Australian husband, Sam. He would have been in Tokyo with her but months after the 2016 Olympics, he suffered a catastrophic injury that ultimately ended his career.
He currently remains in a wheelchair and is now his wife’s coach. Her main competition will come from the Colombian Mariana Paj´ón. Her two Olympic gold medals have earned her the nickname “Queen of BMX.”
As for the men’s portion, 28-year-old Fields will be looking to defend his 2016 gold medal. However, he’s up against stiff competition from Kimmann and Twan van Gendt of the Netherlands and Sylvain André of France.
Both the men and women’s events will be held in the middle of Toyko at the Ariake Urban Sports Park.