Ben Curtis / AFP
Conor Fields, the US BMX gold-medal defender, had a brutal accident in the semi-finals of his event and left the scene on a stretcher in an ambulance.
“We can confirm that Connor Fields is awake and stable and awaiting further medical evaluation. He will remain in hospital under observation,” said Dr. John Fenoff, chief medical officer of the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee.
The 28-year-old was in the third round of the semi-finals, with groups racing over a bumpy track with jumps. He started by riding two excellent vehicles. Then disaster struck.
Fields was in a tight group of riders and went wrong from a jump, crashing head-on to the ground. Paramedics tied him to a stretcher as he appeared unconscious and carried him off the track.
Felicia Stancil, Fields’ training partner who came fourth in the women’s race, saw him crash because she was also in the middle of the competition.
“I’m thinking about him a lot right now. I’m still a bit emotional,” Stancil He said in a statement. “He’s an Olympic champion forever. Being by his side, supporting him, all the time is great. His crash affected me for sure. I actually won the next lap after I cried. I was crying while going up the starting hill and then I won running. It’s just an inspiration.”
Although he was unable to compete in the final, the scores he had already achieved in the semi-finals were enough to qualify. He finally put an eight in the event.