Updated July 29, 2021 - 10:06 pm
Connor Fields, a Green Valley High School and UNLV graduate, was badly injured Friday trying to qualify for the final of the BMX event at the Olympic Games in Tokyo.
Fields was taken to a hospital and was being evaluated for a concussion, according to his dad, Mike. Mike Fields said in a text message his son’s spine and abdomen “are clear.”
Fields, 28, won the gold medal in the event in 2016 at Rio de Janeiro and was a favorite to repeat that effort.
This is his third Olympic Games. Fields was seventh in 2012 in London.
Fields’ back wheel got tangled up with a rider behind him, sending him to the pavement. That rider plus a second competitor rolled over Fields, who lay on the course.
Medical personnel rushed out to Fields, and after several minutes, he was carried to an ambulance.
The qualifying heats were initially delayed 45 minutes because of rain.
When the riders were able to compete, Fields finished third in his first qualifying run and first in his second, good enough to ensure himself a spot in the final had he not crashed.
Fields told the Review-Journal before the Olympics that he always planned to compete in Tokyo, even though the Games were delayed by a year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“You’re not going to do all the work and come this far and walk away just because they added an extra 12 months,” Fields said. “There was no doubt I would keep going.
“I’ve always said that what makes great athletes great is their ability to adapt and overcome. I looked at this as a new challenge. It was the same for everybody. I just have to be as prepared as I can be.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.