Update - USA Cycling has announced that Connor Fields has been moved out of the critical care unit in Tokyo after his crash in the Olympic BMX Racing semifinals.
American BMX racer Connor Fields is awake, stable and awaiting further medical evaluation at a local hospital in Japan following a violent crash during the semifinal heat Friday at the Tokyo Olympics, according to statement from the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee chief medical officer Dr. Jon Finnoff.
The 28-year-old reigning gold medalist in BMX racing was carried off the track on a stretcher, loaded into an ambulance and transported to a hospital.
The crash took place on the first lap of his qualifying heat. Fields was in second place in a tight pack of riders when his front wheel caught the back wheel of the leader, France’s Romain Mahieu, and crashed headfirst onto the ground. Two riders fell over him.
Medical personnel rushed out to attend to Fields, who lay on the track for several minutes before being carried to an ambulance at Ariake Urban Sports Park.
Sports Illustrated reported that Fields' father, Mike Fields, said his son was “alert, answering questions and moving all his limbs.” However, Mike added that he was in pain and "quite subdued."
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Felicia Stancil, Fields' training partner was getting ready for her own race at the same venue and saw the crash.
"I'm thinking about him a lot right now. I'm still a bit emotional," Stancil said in a statement. "He's an Olympic champion forever. To be around him, and his support, all the time is amazing. His crash definitely affected me. I actually won the next lap after I cried. I was crying going up the start hill and then won the run. He's just an inspiration."
Fields' first two runs qualified him for the finals despite the crash, but he was not able to race.
Netherlands’ Niek Kimmann, who won the gold, said he didn't see the crash, but hoped Fields was OK.
“He’s been a great ambassador for the sport," Kimmann said. "For me, it’s sad he wasn’t able to defend his gold medal [from the Rio Olympics].”