• Australia's Caroline Buchanan is comforted after crashing out of her Olympic semi final, and failing to qualify for the final (Getty) (Getty Images)Source: Getty Images
It was a horror day for the Aussies in the Rio Olympic BMX with Caroline Buchanan and Lauren Reynolds crashing out of contention in their semi-final runs and Sam Willoughby and Anthony Dean finishing 6th and 8th respectively.
By
Cycling Central

20 Aug 2016 - 9:08 AM  UPDATED 20 Aug 2016 - 10:12 AM

Rio, the site of Cristo Redentor, was all set to stage Buchanan's redemption from her London 2012 fifth place. In her current form she was a favourite for at least one of the medals. 

This was not in the script. 

After winning her first semi final run and placing fourth in the second, Buchanan crashed on the first corner in the final run. She skulked over the finish line but the 25-year-old did not progress to the final. 

Buchanan broke down in tears and was still seen sobbing almost an hour later. Despite every aspect of Buchanan's public image so famously and fabulously self-controlled, emotion was always going to get her in a moment like this.  

"I feel numb. I pedaled into the first transition and my legs buckled and my handle bars went forward and from there in that split second I knew it was a tough ask to try to finish the lap, I crashed in the first corner and I didn’t make that Olympic final," said Buchanan.

"But walking away, everyone knows this is a brutal sport, there are no white lines, there are no guarantees.

"But I can hold my head held high, I know I am a champion, I have done everything I can.

"I know I didn’t get on that podium, and get the medals that Australia wanted to see, but I am super proud. I am a fighter, I have come back after London, and I will come back again."

Everything though went according to Colombian Mariana Pajon's script. The reigning Olympic and World Champion was too good again, beating Alise Post (USA) and Stefany Hernandez (Venezuela) for the gold medal in the final. 

Reynolds herself did not crash but was caught up behind one, finishing seventh in her second semi run. Her sixth place in her final semi was not enough. 

"Very disappointed, I had my best preparation I ever had," Reynolds said.

"But it is our sport, BMX is crazy, I think today has showed that. It is a real disappointment, but you can't dwell on it too much."

Men's elite Olympic BMX 

Willoughby and Dean continued their quarter final form both winning all three of their semi final runs. But they couldn't carry it with them into the final. Connor Fields (USA) was fastest out of the gates and held a clear lead across the line clear of Jelle van Gorkom (Netherlands) and Carlos Ramirez (Colombia). 

"Obviously disappointed, I won every lap this weekend, but stumbled at the last hurdle," Willoughby said.

"It was a mistake of my own, I dragged my wheel over the back of the first jump and lost my speed. And that was that. 

"I have been on the good end of this sport many times. I have had days where I have been at the back all day, and you just get yourself up for the last lap, and you’re a hero. It goes both ways." 

Dean was stuck out the back for most of the race, crashing on the second last turn, walking to the finish. 

"Sam and I were 1-2 all day, won all our heats, we had a flawless day. But I miss the start and he messed up a jump, and all of a sudden you’re last. It is very cut throat and unforgiving," Dean said. 

"I was one of the fastest guys today as I proved but maybe the experience caused me to miss the start and I am sure it is going to live with me for four years. 

"But, we started out riding and racing together when we were eight year olds, so to be here in an Olympic final in lanes one and two, it is definitely an achievement."