TOKYO (AP) — Bethany Shriever of Britain ended Mariana Pajon’s bid for a third straight Olympic gold medal, pulling away from the Colombian to win BMX racing Friday at the Tokyo Games.
Shriever jumped out to an early lead and held off Pajon at the finish in her first Olympics. Dutch rider Merel Smulders took bronze.
Pajon became the first rider to win two BMX racing gold medals with her victory at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.
Niek Kimmann of the Netherlands won the men’s race, edging Kye Whyte of Britain at the finish line. Carlos Ramirez Yepes of Colombia took bronze.
The United States’ best gold medal hopes ended before the finals.
Reigning gold medalist Connor Fields was carried off on a stretcher and loaded into an ambulance after crashing in the third qualifying heat.
Fields finished fourth in his opening two heats and landed hard off a jump heading into the first turn in the third. The 28-year-old from Las Vegas slammed into the turn and was hit by two other riders.
Medical personnel rushed out to attend to Fields, who lay on the track for several minutes before being carried to an ambulance.
Five years ago in Rio, he became the first American BMX rider to win gold and he was a favorite to win it again in Tokyo.
Fields also suffered a scary crash in 2018 that nearly ended his career.
Fellow American Alise Willoughby, among the gold medal favorites, crashed in the first and third heats to miss qualifying. She tangled in the second crash with Australian Saya Sakakibara, who was taken off on a stretcher.
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