The first American to qualify for BMX Cycling as an Olympic event, Kyle Bennett, 33, died in a single-vehicle car crash early Sunday morning in his hometown of Conroe, Texas.
“Kyle was a pioneer in Olympic BMX and an inspiration to those of us that knew him,” said USA Cycling CEO Steve Johnson in a statement. “He will be sorely missed.”
Bennett was reportedly rushing to the aid of his fiancée, Lynsie, whose car had been broken into. Bennett wasn’t wearing a seat belt.
Bennett competed in his first national competition at age 9 and turned pro at age 18 after he graduated high school, eventually becoming a three-time champion in the National Bicycle League and winning International Cycling Union world titles in 2002, ’03 and ’07.
Bennett qualified as part of the three-person U.S. men’s BMX team for the 2008 Beijing Games, the year the sport debuted as an Olympic event, but was knocked out in the semis.
Cycling was a family affair for the Bennetts: His grandfather was a motorcycle shop owner who encouraged his grandson to race bikes, and Kyle’s stepfather was a professional rider who helped him train.
Bennett’s smooth riding style earned him the nickname “Butter.” He was a champion for his sport as it gained global prominence and told the Houston Chronicle in 2008 he wanted BMX to become a household name.
“It’s such an easy sport to get involved in. All you need is a bike, long pants, a shirt and a helmet.”
But Swiatek is not as dominant as in 2022, when she went 16-0 in the spring clay season during an overall 37-match win streak.
She retired from her last pre-French Open match with a right thigh injury and said it wasn’t serious. Before that, she lost the final of another clay-court tournament to Australian Open champion Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus.
Sabalenka, the No. 2 seed, and Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan, the No. 4 seed and Wimbledon champion, are the top challengers in Paris.
No. 3 Jessica Pegula, the highest-seeded American man or woman, was eliminated in the third round.
No. 6 Coco Gauff, runner-up to Swiatek last year, is the best hope to become the first American to win a Grand Slam singles title since Sofia Kenin at the 2020 Australian Open. The 11-major drought is the longest for U.S. women since Seleswon the 1996 Australian Open.
But the No. 1 seed is Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz, who won last year’s U.S. Open to become, at 19, the youngest man to win a major since Nadal’s first French Open title in 2005.
Now Alcaraz looks to become the second-youngest man to win at Roland Garros since 1989, after Nadal of course.
Alcaraz missed the Australian Open in January due to a right leg injury, but since went 30-3 with four titles. Notably, he has not faced Djokovic this year. They could meet in the semifinals.
Russian Daniil Medvedev, the No. 2 seed, was upset in the first round by 172nd-ranked Brazilian qualifier Thiago Seyboth Wild. It marked the first time a men’s top-two seed lost in the first round of any major since 2003 Wimbledon (Ivo Karlovic d. Lleyton Hewitt).
No. 9 Taylor Fritz and No. 12 Frances Tiafoe are the highest-seeded Americans, looking to become the first U.S. man to make the French Open quarterfinals since Andre Agassi in 2003. Since then, five different American men combined to make the fourth round on eight occasions.