Connor Fields, the defending BMX gold medalist from the 2016 Rio Olympics, is awake and stable, USA Cycling reported, after suffering a horrific crash Friday.
Fields fell face-first onto the asphalt after landing awkwardly during the third BMX semifinal run Friday at the Tokyo Olympics. Fields was in second place when he went over his handlebars and crashed to the ground. He took down other riders, as well, then laid motionless on the pavement. The Olympics medical staff carried the 28-year-old off the track on a stretcher.
“As most of you saw in today’s BMX race, @connorfields11 suffered from a crash in the third round of the semifinals. We can confirm that he is awake, stable, and awaiting further medical evaluation. He will remain in the hospital under observation. Thinking of you Connor,” USA Cycling tweeted.
An updated statement from USA Cycling reads: “The crash was quite severe and he has had 2 CAT scans, after the second of which everyone was optimistic. He will now have a third tomorrow, assuming all is going well. He will remain in ICU for 48 to 72 hours and in the hospital for up to 7 days.”
Dutchman Niek Kimmann went on to win the gold medal in the event said he hopes Fields is OK. Kimmann also had a scary crash during practice earlier in the week. A clueless official walked onto the track and into his path. Kimmann suffered a hairline fracture in his knee, a Dutch newspaper said, but he was able to continue racing.
“This week has been an emotional roller coaster,” Kimmann said, according to Fox News. “The crash with the official, I thought my week was over, basically. But after getting the MRI results, we realized it would be possible. It wouldn’t be comfortable, but it was possible.”
He said it was a shame Fields was unable to defend his gold medal.
“I haven’t seen the crash, but I hope he’s OK,” he said. “He’s been a great ambassador for the sport. For me, it’s sad he wasn’t able to defend his gold medal.”
Fields Not the Only Scary BMX Crash at Olympics
Connor Fields wasn’t the only rider to suffer a terrifying crash at the Tokyo Games. Australian rider Saya Sakakibara was stretchered off of the course after a scary wreck Friday, as well. She went down hard after Team USA’s Alise Willoughby mistakenly clipped her back wheel on a steep turn.
Her brother, Kai, who also raced BMX, was nearly paralyzed after a crash last year. His crash resulted in an eight-month hospital stay where he was in a coma for two months and had to relearn how to walk and talk, The Guardian reported.
Saya Sakakibara dedicated her race to him. He was watching from home when the wreck occurred. The Tokyo Olympics banned spectators at the events because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Doctors medically cleared her after checking for signs of a concussion. However, the wreck left her devastated. She said she felt like she let her brother down.
“Definitely confused, I honestly don’t really know what happened,” she told an Australian news outlet, The Guardian said. “But I know that I was riding really well. My starts were going really well. I came down with Alise, who caught up with me, we came down together. That’s all I remember. This is so disappointing. I feel like I have let everyone down. I let everyone down, especially my brother.”
Kai, however, said he was proud of her.
“Saya, I know this isn’t what you wanted,” he told the news outlet. “But either way I’m really proud, and let’s go prepare for the next one.”