(, August 22) -- Maris Strombergs of kept a cool head in a heated Men's race to carve a narrow victory as BMX made its Olympic debut on Friday, August 22.
Strombergs grabbed the decisive lead in the first corner and rode with smooth confidence to win the gold medal as rivals crashed in his wake.
Americansand each avoided a costly spill in the second turn to win silver and bronze, respectively, in the eight-man final.
Strombergs, the reigning world champion, was fastest in the three runs that make up the semifinals to secure the preferred inside gate start position. With Friday's achievement, he notched Latvia's first gold medal of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.
Day won his semifinals heat, but could not get around Strombergs in the final despite a strong effort in the first turn.
Robinson overcame a poor outside-lane start position, earned after crashing in the final of the three semifinal runs, to claim bronze, thanks to his excellent bike handling skills.
Sifiso Nhlapo of, who had not crashed in two days of qualifying, slipped out in the second corner, taking Damien Godet of and 's Jared Graves with him.