American BMX favorite Connor Fields carried off on stretcher during semifinals

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TOKYO, JAPAN - JULY 30: Romain Mahieu of Team France and Connor Fields of Team United States crash during the Men's BMX semifinal heat 1, run 3 on day seven of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Ariake Urban Sports Park on July 30, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Francois Nel/Getty Images)
Romain Mahieu of Team France and Connor Fields of Team United States crash during the Men's BMX semifinal heat 1, run 3 on day seven of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. (Photo by Francois Nel/Getty Images)

TOKYO — Three-time Olympian, reigning medalist, and American men's favorite to medal in BMX racing, Connor Fields was carried off the track on a stretcher after crashing on Friday in Tokyo.

The medal day was initially delayed because of heavy rain.

Entering the third heat of the semifinal, Fields was fourth overall. He seemed to be in second place as he landed hard off an early jump, slamming into the ground.

Medical personnel attended to him briefly on the track before lifting him onto a stretcher. He was placed in an ambulance, which remained just outside the track as he continued to be cared for.

Fields, 28 and from Las Vegas, still technically qualified for the finals.

Australia's Saya Sakakibara crashed in a women's race soon after and was also removed on a stretcher. She was later seen up and walking, but likely dealing with a concussion. 

Women's BMX favorite also crashes twice

Alise Willoughby, another American favorite, crashed in her first and third heat, but was able to finish. She doesn't believe the rain was a factor, though. 

"Obviously riding in the rain is never fun, but the track held up great and honestly right now is the best conditions we've had all week. So I don't think it's the weather, I just think it's putting eight of the world's best head to head and close racing," Willoughby said. "I think that fluke things happen. We all train and prepare to not have those things happen, and it's unfortunate when they do." 

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