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Cyclist Jumps Barriers and Hits Spectators in High-Speed Crash at 2022 Commonwealth Games

Cyclist Jumps Barriers and Hits Spectators in High-Speed Crash at 2022 Commonwealth Games

A large-scale bike crash at the 2022 Commonwealth Games has landed several athletes in the hospital.

The incident, which involved multiple spectators, occurred Sunday at the Lee Valley VeloPark in London when England’s Matt Walls was propelled into the crowd at high speed along with his bike.

Walls, Canadian cyclist Derek Gee and Isle of Man rider Matthew Bostock were also hospitalized as a result of the crash, which forced organizers to abandon racing for the rest of Sunday morning. Spectators were also asked to leave as medical staff attended to Walls.

According to The Guardian, two crowd members were treated for minor injuries at the venue, after Walls and his bike hurtled over the barriers on the track and landed on and in the audience. 

The spectacular incident was captured by a spectator across the arena and posted to Twitter by Sky Sports.

Walls, 24, was attempting to avoid a pile-up of riders who had crashed lower down the steep embankment of the velodrome when the incident happened, but ended up going over the top. The cyclist was treated for more than 40 minutes on-site by paramedics before being taken away in an ambulance. Gee also ended up on the barrier between the track and the crowd, but fell back onto the course rather than into the stands.

Walls’ crash happened only one day after England teammate Joe Truman was knocked unconscious and broke his collarbone in a collision on the same track. The British Cycling Team tweeted shortly after the incident with an update.

“Following a crash in the men’s scratch, Matt Walls & Matt Bostock are being treated by medics before being taken to hospital for further treatment.” 

The legs of Matt Walls (ENG) can be seen as he crashes over the barrier into the crowd. Derek Gee (CAN, 15) tries to avoid the barrier during the Mens 15km Scratch race. Commonwealth Games Track Cycling, Olympic Velodrome, Stratford, London, United Kingdom - 31 Jul 2022

The legs of Matt Walls (ENG) can be seen as he crashes over the barrier into the crowd. Derek Gee (CAN, 15) tries to avoid the barrier during the Mens 15km Scratch race. Commonwealth Games Track Cycling, Olympic Velodrome, Stratford, London, United Kingdom – 31 Jul 2022
Credit: Garry Bowden/Shutterstock

They also had encouraging words for all involved.

“We send our best wishes to the riders and spectators involved in the incident,” said the British Cycling Team.

They tweeted again later Sunday, saying that Walls had been discharged from the hospital with stitches in his forehead “but thankfully no major injuries.” 

“Thanks go to the medical teams for their expert care,” they added.

One man in the front row was treated for cuts on his arm, and a young girl also received treatment, according to Yahoo Sport. Canada’s Mathias Guillemette was also disqualified for causing the initial crash.

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Yahoo Sport reported that a spokesperson for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games made a statement that also gave details about the crash, adding: “We would like to send our best wishes to the cyclists and spectators involved in this incident and to thank the medical team for their swift action.”

The organization did not immediately respond to an inquiry from PEOPLE.

Crash England Matt Walls heads into the crowd in a crash Commonwealth Games, Track and Para Track Cycling. London, UK - 31 Jul 2022

Crash England Matt Walls heads into the crowd in a crash Commonwealth Games, Track and Para Track Cycling. London, UK – 31 Jul 2022
England cyclist Matt Walls heads into the crowd after a crash at the Commonwealth Games
| Credit: Will Palmer/SWpix.com/Shutterstock

The Commonwealth Games, often referred to as the “Friendly Games,” invites athletes from the 72 member states to compete in sporting events. They began in 1930 as the British Empire Games and have been held every four years (with the exception of 1942 and 1946) since. This year, 4,500 athletes from 72 and territories are expected to participate in the multi-sport event.

In a message released ahead of the opening ceremony, Prince Edward thanked all participants for the roles they played in making the Games happen.

“To all athletes, officials, spectators and visitors I bid you a very warm welcome and thank you all for coming. It simply wouldn’t be the great festival of sport it is without you,” he wrote. “Yet the Games are more than just about sport, they are the greatest manifestation of the Commonwealth: our extraordinary collection of countries linked together through a myriad of bonds of common interests and relationships. The parallel arts festival is an integral part of this celebration and reminds us of our shared values and the tremendous talent that exists across our family of nations.”