Did you know that BMX was popular in countries other than America? In fact, in the world of BMX the United States isn’t even all that good. Did you know that BMX is an Olympic event? Both of those facts were reaffirmed today when Latvia and Colombia won gold medals in BMX racing.
In the men’s race defending gold medalist Maris Strombergs won in a time of 37.576 seconds, Australia’s Sam Willoughby took silver and Carlos Mario Oquendo Zabala of Colombia placed third for bronze. American Connor Fields, who won his semifinal, placed seventh. Fields crashed on the final turn, but was out of medal contention by that point. The crash did not take Fields out of the race, only slowed him, and was not quite as gnarly (BMX term) as some crashes that took place earlier in the Olympics.
In the women’s race Colombian Mariana Pajon won gold in a time of 37.706 seconds, New Zealand’s Sarah Walker claimed silver and Laura Smulders of the Netherlands took the bronze. Brooke Crain of the USA finished last place in the finals. Pajon, the Colombian flag bearer, was the strongest cyclist throughout the competition winning all three of her semifinal races as well. This was just the second gold medal ever for Colombia, with the other being won in women’s heavyweight weightlifting in 2000.
For more on the Olympics, check out SB Nation's London 2012 Olympics Hub