Australia’s BMX hopes have ended in defeat, with Caroline Buchanan crashing out, and Sam Willoughby and Anthony Dean finishing out of the medals.
Buchanan’s Olympic campaign ended in tears, after the Australian world number one crashed out of the semi-finals on day 14.
Buchanan was in position to go through to the gold-medal race after winning run one and finishing fourth in run two, but she came down heavily in the third run of her semi-final.
She wheeled over the line for eighth, but the result put her level on 13 points with Belgium’s Elke VanHoof and Russia’s Yaroslava Bondarenko.
This put her in fifth on count-back, missing out on the final.
The result adds to Buchanan’s Olympic troubles, after she went into the gold-medal race in London as one of the favourites, only to finish out of the medals in fifth.
“Right now it does feel like a repeat of London. In London I had the opportunity to be a medallist and I didn’t believe in myself, I fell apart and didn’t bring it,” Buchanan said.
“This Olympics is a different story. I can truly say I did everything possible, I qualified well, I set myself up.
“I haven’t been able to see the footage yet. I pedalled into the transition at the bottom of the ramp, and I felt myself buckle.
“From there, in that split second, my bars moved forward and I knew in that moment it was going to be a tough ask to finish the lap.
“To walk away from this Olympics, everyone knows it’s a brutal sport. There are no guarantees, and I can hold my head high that I am a champion and I’ve done everything I can.”
Lauren Reynolds finished sixth in the same semi, after coming sixth, seventh and fourth in her three runs.
In the men’s competition, Australia had two riders in the final, with Sam Willoughby and Anthony Dean both winning all three of their runs to qualify undefeated for the gold-medal race.
But it was not to be in the final, with Willoughby third on the first turn and Dean well back in the field.
Willoughby then got edged out into fifth in the final turn and came home for sixth, while Dean failed to finish.
Willoughby took the silver medal behind Latvia’s Maris Strombergs in London four years ago.
“Me and Sam Willoughby … put ourselves in the best position possible to go gold and silver,” Dean said.
“I missed the start a bit, causing me to get cut off. I was just fighting in the back there and ended up crashing in the second corner. Nothing I could do there.
“I was pretty angry straight away, and now it’s starting to sink in what I just missed out on. It’s definitely heartbreaking.
“Sam [Willoughby] got a good start. I think he just tagged the first jump a little.
“You really have to get everything perfect. You need a perfect lap to win on BMX, because it’s so cutthroat, and I just don’t think he got it perfect, and he just lost the leader.”