Fields, Crain compete in 2012 Olympic BMX finals
London, U.K. (Aug. 10, 2012) — Americans Connor Fields (Henderson, Nev./Chase BMX) and Brooke Crain (Visalia, Calif./Haro Bikes) finished seventh and eighth, respectively, in the finals of the BMX competition at the 2012 London Olympic Games on Friday.
Day three of BMX competition at the BMX Track in London’s Olympic Park began with three semifinal runs to determine the top eight athletes who would compete in a winner-take-all final race. Points equaling a rider’s finishing position were handed out after each run. The four riders with the lowest point totals in each of two heats moved on to the final.
Leading off the semifinals were the women, where Crain and Alise Post (Saint Cloud, Minn./Redline) had both qualified in the same heat after Wednesday’s seeding time trial runs. Post finished third in the first run, with Crain two spots behind her in fifth. During the second run, Crain finished slightly higher in fourth, but Post met with some bad luck after not quite clearing a jump coming out of the tunnel into turn two. She fell, but was able to recover and cross the line in seventh.
In the third run, Crain placed fifth to bring her semifinal point total to 14, qualifying her for the final. Post, however, crashed hard on the final straight and did not finish the race, bringing her semifinal point total to 18 and leaving her out of the hunt for a medal.
“I was second coming out of the tunnel, and a girl just cut over and I hit her. I was fine and was picking people off a bit, and then it was kind of a blur to me what happened on the last straight,” explained Post. “I felt really good out there and strong, but all 16 riders were all out there battling and got the best of me today, unfortunately. I’m heavily disappointed. I think we were all riding extremely well and are capable of medaling, it just didn’t go our way today.”
After successfully making it through Thursday’s quarterfinals, Fields and David Herman (Wheat Ridge, Colo./Free Agent-Rockstar) were seeded separately for the semifinal round. Riding in heat one, Fields survived an early crash that took down about half the field in turn one to finish fourth in the first run. Fields then proceeded to win the next two runs, qualifying for the finals first in his heat with six points.
In heat two, Herman got off to a good start by placing third. However, a sixth-place finish in the second run and then sixth again in the third run after getting stuck behind a crash on the second straight left him just shy of a coveted spot in the finals. He ultimately finished fifth in his heat and did not advance.
“To not execute, that kind of puts a damper on my Olympic experience. But I can always say I’m an Olympian, so I’m proud of that,” said Herman following the semifinals.
In the women’s final, Crain wasn’t able to move up among a fast, hard-charging field, and finished eighth, 2.58 seconds behind the race winner, Mariana Pajon of Colombia.
“It wasn’t the race I wanted, obviously, but I was just happy to be in the finals. I tore my quad muscle on those time trials [on Wednesday], so it was a lot to push down the hill. I wish I had had a better lap, but it is what it is,” said Crain. “I’ve never raced in front of this many people in my life, but it’s a crazy experience and I’ll remember it forever.”
Starting in lane one, Fields wasn’t able to get around Dutch rider Twan van Gendt, and ended up in eighth position coming out of the first turn.
“I did a good job of recovering from my spill in the first heat — coming back and winning the next two. I was feeling pretty good going into the final,” he explained. “I just had a bad start and got stuck behind the Dutchman. I got trapped behind him, and there was really nothing I could do.”
Fields tried to pull back some riders, but a crash with another rider in the final turn took him out of contention for a medal.
“Looking back, I was passing for fifth, and it probably didn’t make sense. But I’m just a racer and every spot matters. We just tangled up and took a little spill, but it wasn’t a big deal.”
Fields finished seventh behind winner Maris Strombergs of Latvia, who defended his Olympic gold medal from the 2008 Games in Beijing, and world champion Sam Willoughby of Australia, who placed second.
“I’m 19 years old, and to say I’ve represented my country in the Olympics and made the finals is an achievement itself. I’m really happy and thankful for everyone who’s helped me out along the way,” said Fields, who only turned pro last year. “I’ll be 23 in Rio [de Janeiro, site of the 2016 Olympic Games] and [plan to] go for it again.”
Though the American BMX contingent did not come away with a medal after winning three in Beijing four years ago, BMX Program Director Mike King was upbeat about the future, “The sport has evolved. It shows how global our sport has become. Yeah I’m disappointed, but at the end of the day, these guys fought their heart out, and I’m really proud of them.
“There’re only a handful of guys that have been to the Olympics more than once now. The winner of the men’s race is a two-time Olympian. Our entire team had never been to the Olympics before, so we’ve got that to look forward to. We’re going to have some experience in the next quad.”
Portions of today’s BMX cycling event are scheduled to be shown during NBC’s tape-delayed prime time broadcast. Olympic cycling continues tomorrow with the women’s mountain bike competition. For more information on cycling at the Olympic Games, visit www.usacycling.org/olympics.
2012 Olympic Games — BMX
Men’s Semifinal Run 1
Men’s Semifinal Run 2
Men’s Semifinal Run 3
Women’s Semifinal Run 1 (Heat 1)
Women’s Semifinal Run 2 (Heat 1)
Women’s Semifinal Run 3 (Heat 1)