Olympic BMX racing quarterfinals narrowed the field of 32 male competitors down to 16 on Thursday, with New Zealand's Marc Willers, USA's Connor Fields, and Raymon van deer Biezen and Twan van Gendt for the Netherlands leading each of four heats.
They will advance to tomorrow's Olympic BMX semifinals at Olympic Park in London, UK.
Additional riders that advance to tomorrow's semifinals include Latvia's Edzus Treimanis, Maris Strombergs and Rihards Veide, Australia's Khalen Young and Sam Willoughby, France's Quentin Calyeron and Joris Daudet, Colombia's A.E. Jimienez Caicedo and C.M. Oquendo Zabala, Switzerland's Roger Rinderknecht, USA's David Herman and the UK's Liam Phillips.
Quarterfinals for the men was broken down into four heats of eight riders, with five races per heat. Riders acquired points based on placings in each race, which are measured by the lowest scores. After three runs, the best two riders from each quarterfinal progress to the semifinals. The remaining riders compete in the final two quarterfinal runs and the best two from each quarterfinal also progress to the semifinals.
Early in the day, crashes brought entire heats to a halt, beginning with USA's David Herman. With New Zealand's Marc Willers in the lead in the first race of heat three, Herman went down in the turn, bringing almost every other rider down in the ensuing chaos. Herman did not finish the race, but recovered to place promising positions in the last four heats. His efforts managed to squeak him into the semifinals.
According to Herman, his coach, former BMX pro Greg Romero, kept him in check throughout quarterfinals by sending him text messages from the stands.
Meanwhile, Herman's USA teammate, Nic Long, was not as fortunate. Long went down in the same crash as Herman, and managed to finish the first race of heat three in seventh place. Long's remaining races, including race four, knocked him back in the points rankings to fifth place.
As quarterfinals completed, Long removed his helment, shook his head and walked off the field of play with a look of disappointment on his face. His Olympic journey finished.
"Great effort today by Connor Fields and David Herman," said USA Cycling BMX Director Mike King. "I'm super bummed for Nic Long -- he rode like a champ."
Olympic BMX racing continues tomorrow with men's and women's semifinals, followed by men's and women's finals.
Q = qualified to tomorrow's semifinals.