(AP file photo/Jon Super)

 

Connor Fields and Brooke Crain recently traded in their BMX bikes for ping pong paddles. It might have been the toughest competition that two of the United States' best riders faced while recovering from injuries.

 

 

They seem to be in much better shape since that table tennis tug-of-war. 

Crain, who broke her leg during a race four weeks ago, said this week that she has been cleared to start sprinting on a bike. The second highest-ranked American in the world behind Alise Post hopes to be cleared to return to the track by this weekend.

(AP file photo/Sergey Ponomarev)

"Having someone else go through the process, it is easier," Crain said about commiserating with Fields. "You don't feel alone through the whole thing."

Fields, like Crain, competed in the 2012 Olympics in London. Fields was the top-ranked American on the men's side this season before hurting his wrist during a practice almost two months ago. He needed surgery.
 
Fields said this week that he has been cleared to start sprinting. If doctors are satisfied with his X-rays at his next visit next week, he should get full clearance to return to the track.

If Fields and Crain don't have any setbacks, they should have plenty of time to get ready for Rio, where the BMX events will be held toward the end of the Olympics' two week-plus run in August.

Despite their pedigrees, Fields and Crain aren't guaranteed spots on Team USA. But they have good chances to make the squad as coach's selections because of experience and overall bodies of work. 

The United States will field a full five-rider team of three men and two women. Another 2012 Olympian, Alise Post, is already guaranteed a spot after her bronze-medal finish at the World Championships two weeks ago. 

On the men's side, Nic Long also finished third at worlds to clinch a spot on Team USA and return to the Olympics after making it to London. Another Rio berth will go to the winner of the U.S. Olympic Team trials on Saturday at the BMX Training Center in Chula Vista, California. Corben Sharrah, ranked fifth in the world, is a favorite. 

As of Wednesday, Fields had yet to decide if he was going to watch the trials, though he's hopeful of his chances to get to Rio.

"Until I see my name in writing ... I'm not going to count my chickens before they hatch," he said.