A BMX star who almost missed the Olympics after a freak crash with an official bounced back to take a stunning gold
- The Dutch BMX rider Niek Kimmann won Olympic gold four days after a crash put his games in doubt.
- The 25-year-old had collided with a steward who crossed the track during a practice run Monday.
- Kimmann said painkillers kept him going and enabled him to compete with a knee injury.
The Dutch BMX rider Niek Kimmann took gold in the men's cycling BMX racing at the Tokyo Olympics, capping a remarkable week that almost saw him miss the final.
The 25-year-old was one of the favorites to win the competition, but his chances took a serious hit when he collided with a steward who walked across the track during a practice run Monday.
The nasty collision caused an injury to one of the Dutchman's knees.
After the crash, Kimmann said he feared he might not be able to race in the competitive part of the games.
-7Olympics (@7olympics) July 27, 2021
Four days later, and not only was Kimmann able to compete, but he was able to win gold, beating Britain's Kye Whyte by 0.114 seconds to help put to bed the curse that seemed to afflict the Dutch cycling team earlier this week.
Competing in his second senior Olympics, having appeared at the 2016 Rio Games and the 2014 Summer Youth Olympics, Kimmann led from the first corner in the final at the Ariake Urban Sports Park.
Dressed in Dutch orange, Kimmann established an early lead as Whyte unsuccessfully attempted to reel him in.
After the race, Kimmann said he thought his "dream was over" following the crash.
"The last few weeks I've felt in the best shape ever," he said. "Of course there was a lot of pressure, but I was confident and then I hit that official and I felt like my dream was over. But luckily with painkillers that dream was still alive. I just kept believing.
"Like I said, I felt so good in the last weeks, I thought that painkillers and my adrenaline would do the job, and they did."
Kimmann's gold is the third for the Netherlands at the games, following Annemiek van Vleuten's win in the women's cycling time trial and the victory of the men's quadruple sculls team in rowing.
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