Sharrah nabs place on US team in BMX for Rio Olympics
CHULA VISTA, Calif. (AP) If Corben Sharrah was going to miss his sister's wedding, it had better be for a good reason.
Earning a spot in the BMX competition at the Rio Olympics probably suffices.
Sharrah earned his spot on the three-man U.S. team on Saturday when he took the lead out of the starting gate at trials, held it through the first corner, then pulled away from David Herman and Justin Posey to secure the automatic berth for the Summer Games.
''I just left it all out there on the table,'' Sharrah said, ''and came out with a win.''
Nic Long had already earned one of the three men's spots with his bronze medal at the world championships. USA Cycling will decide the final rider by June 24, weighing past results and medal capabilities - among other factors - in rounding out the squad.
Connor Fields is the likely choice, assuming he is healthy. Fields was a finalist at the London Olympics four years ago but has been recovering from a wrist injury.
Sharrah was the heavy favorite going into the trials, but he still had to execute. He wound up dominating his heat races before taking the lead into the first turn in the final.
He never faltered through the rest of the course, looking relaxed as he crossed the line.
''I just tried to stay relaxed and hit all the jumps good until the finish line,'' he said. ''I was comfortable. I generally try not to push it too hard. ... You make mistakes.''
The trials are only used to determine one of the three men's spots.
On the two-rider women's team, Alise Post secured her spot with a bronze at worlds. USA Cycling will determine the other rider by June 24, when the national federation is due to announce its road cycling and mountain bikes teams along with the finalized BMX roster.
Brooke Crain, a late substitute for the London Games, is the favorite for the spot. But just like Long, she is also coming back from an injury - she broke her fibula several weeks ago.
There is no such uncertain for Sharrah, not after his win Saturday.
''It's the main event, the final. You're going for the spot to go to the Olympics. Everybody is going to bring their best game,'' he said. ''Any of these guys could represent the U.S.''