In a BMX quarterfinals filled with big crashes, two of the heavy favorites failed to advance. The world champion France’s Joris Daudet and defending two-time gold medalist Maris Strombergs were both eliminated and won’t compete in the semifinals. British rider Liam Phillips, also a favorite for the podium, crashed in his first race and couldn’t return.
Three Americans — Corben Sharrah, Nic Long and Connor Fields — all showed their speed and durability in the quarters and advanced. Sharrah was consistent through the day grabbing top-five finishes in each race.
Fields, who was in the same heat as Sharrah, dominated his first race, finishing well ahead of the rest of the field.
Long also grabbed a first-place finish in his heat, competing against Dutch rider Niek Kimmann. Kimmann just barely qualified.
Australia’s Sam Willoughby proved he’s the man to beat going into the next round. He won all three of the races in heat 4, avoiding the crashes left and right. Twan van Gendt, also in heat 4, took a nasty spill in his first race, but recovered to finish second in the next two to advance.
Canada’s Tony Nyhaug and Dutch rider Jelle van Gorkom also had a strong showings in their heats. Both riders grabbed two wins.
The semifinals begin Friday at 12:30 p.m. ET. The finals are being held at 4 p.m.