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U.S. gets first gold in BMX racing

Netherlands' Jelle Van Gorkom (silver), US Connor Fields (gold) and Colombia's Carlos Alberto Ramirez Yepes (bronze) celebrate on the podium of the men's BMX cycling event of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic BMX Centre in Rio de Janeiro on August 19, 2016. / AFP / CARL DE SOUZA        (Photo credit should read CARL DE SOUZA/AFP/Getty Images)

Netherlands' Jelle Van Gorkom (silver), US Connor Fields (gold) and Colombia's Carlos Alberto Ramirez Yepes (bronze) celebrate on the podium of the men's BMX cycling event of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic BMX Centre in Rio de Janeiro on August 19, 2016. / AFP / CARL DE SOUZA (Photo credit should read CARL DE SOUZA/AFP/Getty Images)

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil — The United States ended its gold-medal drought in BMX racing after Connor Fields won the men's final Friday in the American-born sport, and Colombia's Mariana Pajon defended her title in the women's final.

American Alise Post took silver behind Pajon. The United States didn't medal in the sport in 2012.

Fields (above) was jubilant after racing to the front and holding off Dutch rider Jelle van Gorkom at the finish line. "There was kind of a point where I exited the last corner and realized I was winning," said Fields, 23, smiling, his medal draped around his neck. "I was like, 'Get to the line! Get to the line!' I crossed that finish line and dropped to my knees. I couldn't believe it."

It had been a trying few months for Fields, who broke a bone in his left hand in the spring. He returned to the bike in June and needed a special brace to compete in Rio.

There was a photo finish for third, with Colombia's Carlos Ramirez Yepes edging American Nic Long for bronze. Officials went to a video replay to determine that medal.

In the women's final, Pajon never looked back after the first turn.

Post said gold had been her goal: "And here I am with a silver, and you'd think I'd be disappointed. But I'm 100 percent proud of the effort given and it feels like a win to me."

U.S. gets first gold in BMX racing 08/19/16 [Last modified: Friday, August 19, 2016 10:22pm]
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