BMX Racer Hospitalized After Crash on the Olympic Course but Is Awake and Stable: Doctor
Team USA's Connor Fields was the defending gold medalist in his race
Defending Olympic champion BMX racer Connor Fields was hospitalized Friday after being carried out of his competition on a stretcher following a startling crash during the semifinals of his race in the Tokyo Summer Games.
Fields' doctors say he is awake and stable and is being evaluated.
"He will remain in the hospital under observation. Additional updates about his condition will be shared as they become available," Dr. Jon Finnoff, Team USA's chief medical officer, said in a statement.
Further details were not provided.
Video from Fields' crash appears to show the front wheel of his bike clip the race leader as they head into the first turn, causing him to tumble forward on his head as he is pummeled by racers behind him.
"He had a pretty hard slam. I heard it like I was just next to him," bronze medalist Carlos Alberto Ramírez Yepes, of Colombia, told reporters afterward.
"I just hope he's okay, I think he's been a great ambassador for the sport," said Netherlands' Niek Kimmann, who won gold.
Kimmann added: "For me it's sad he wasn't able to defend his gold medal ... I can't wait to medal with Connor again soon."
"Sending hugs to Connor Fields and Saya Sakakibara after they crashed out of the cycling BMX racing semi-finals. We're thinking of you!" the Olympics said in a brief post on their Twitter.
Fields, 28, was a favorite for the podium after a strong showing in the quarterfinal on Thursday. After his crash, he finished eighth.
He won gold in men's BMX racing at the 2016 Games — a first for the U.S.
"There was kind of a point where I exited the last corner and realized I was winning," he said then. "I was like: 'Get to the line! Get to the line!' I crossed that finish line and dropped to my knees. I couldn't believe it."
Fields competed in Rio with a brace after recovering from a hand injury.
"I would be lying if I said there weren't any dark times," he said in 2016. "They say adversity makes you stronger if you let it."
To learn more about Team USA, visit TeamUSA.org. Watch the Tokyo Olympics now on NBC.