What devastating news for Asian Aussie Olympian Saya Sakakibara. Whilst racing in the Olympic BMX semi final, with her eye to the final, she went down on the steep final bend, when America’s Alise Willoughby’s bike touched Sakakibara’s back wheel. The crash was pretty serious with medics removing Sakakibara on a stretcher. What makes this even sadder is that her inspiration in making it to the Olympics was for her brother Kai, who suffered a serious crash last year leaving him with permanent brain damage.
Luckily, Sakakibara only suffered some scrapes and bruises and was cleared after experiencing a mild concussion. She was devastated at what happened as she told the media that her dream was to wear a medal for Australia – and she was leading in the semi final, so it was really close.
This is what she told the Seven Network about what happened:
“Definitely confused, I honestly I don’t really know what happened,”
“But I know that I was riding really well. My starts were going really well. I came down with Alise, who caught up with me, we came down together. That’s all I remember. This is so disappointing. I feel like I have let everyone down. I let everyone down, especially my brother.”
“BMX, this is what it is … to be honest I can’t believe it’s over,”
“It didn’t really hit me until I watched that women’s race. It just really sucks for sure.
“I feel like I probably did the best that I could today. Coming off yesterday I was able to switch back on, make sure I put down a really good result for that second moto. To be honest, I don’t think it’s really clicked that it’s over, but yeah, it just sucks.”
Kai, who also spoke to Seven post-race, said he was proud of his sister.
“Saya, I know this isn’t what you wanted,” he said. “But either way I’m really proud, and let’s go prepare for the next one.”
I am sure we will see her in Paris at the next Olympics! In our eyes she is still a star!~~