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Kiwi BMX athlete Jessie Smith is vowing not to let a horrific crash get in the way of her qualifying for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

In October the 18-year-old was in Tokyo where she was testing the course for next year’s Olympic Games.

“The first BMX jump is 11-14 metres long and you have to jump it, I pulled out last minute and went over the handlebars and smashed into a mound which was right there,” said Smith.

The fact that Smith was travelling at around 70k’s at the time of impact meant the crash was extremely serious.

She was rushed to hospital by ambulance where she was told she’d ruptured her spleen, suffered a concussion, and had fluid in her lungs.

“That meant seven days in hospital in Japan, I had multiple CT scans, MRIs, Xrays and a lovely 5 days in bed with no moving,” said Smith.

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The young rider has now returned home where she’s continuing her recovery.

She hopes to be back on the bike in early December and is thankful the crash happened at the end of the BMX season.

Rather than letting the crash put her off the sport, Smith is using it as a learning experience.

“It is a very tough and scary sport, as soon as you second guess yourself you can really put yourself in danger so you’ve got to be very committed to everything you do as soon as you get out that gate and start flying down that ramp.”

“For me the biggest lesson learned is to just trust myself, I know I have the skills and the ability so when those doubts creep into my mind I just need to shut them out and trust myself.”

The crash followed a breakthrough year for Smith where the teenager placed 4th at the Paris World Cup and won the Junior Women’s World Title in Belgium.

She’s now a real prospect for Tokyo 2020 and has the self-belief to get her there.

“After my results this year I believe I can get there, I’ve been putting in the work and if I continue doing that it may well happen.”

“I’ve still got my eyes on the prize, the crash hasn’t scared me off it’s just made me hungrier and more motivated to come back from this stronger.”


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