Saya Sakakibara has ended her Tokyo Olympics with a ripped sleeve, a bandaged forearm and emotional wounds that ran much deeper.
One devastating moment has turned the 21-year-old and her brother Kai from a feel-good story of Australia's Tokyo Olympics to heartbreak.
Saya's BMX semi-final crash on Friday dashed hopes of an Olympic triumph for her family, with the Australian star lamenting "it just really sucks".
As compatriot Lauren Reynolds finished an impressive fifth place in the BMX racing final, four years after she was cut from the national program, Sakakibara tearfully apologised to Kai for letting him down.
Kai was competing at a Bathurst BMX World Cup race in February last year on the way to his own Olympic selection, when he crashed heavily and suffered a traumatic brain injury.
He was in a coma for two months and has amazed doctors with his ongoing recovery.
Kai, who turned 25 on Thursday, is also in Tokyo with his mother and grandmother and will take part in the Paralympic torch relay.
Saya, 21, was in the box seat to make the final when she and American star Alise Willoughby tangled while leading their last semi-final race.
The Australian said Willoughby cut her off as they went over a jump.
Sakakibara was stretchered off the course at the Ariake Urban Sports Park and there were concerns briefly about her wellbeing.
But she was cleared of mild concussion by team medical staff.
Sakakibara later broke down in tears when talking about her family.
"I feel like I've let everyone down, especially my brother," she told the Seven Network.
"It just really sucks. I can't believe it's over."
But within minutes, Kai was also interviewed on TV and had nothing but praise for his sister, calling the crash "really annoying".
"I know this isn't what you wanted, but either way I'm proud and let's go and prepare for the next one," he said.
It was a day of high drama that underscored BMX racing's reputation for cruelty.
American Connor Fields, the Rio gold medallist, was rushed to hospital after his crash in the men's semi-final heats.
Willoughby was consoled trackside by Australian husband Sam after the crash with Sakakibara confirmed she would miss the final.
Sam, the London silver medallist, is in a wheelchair after he was paralysed in a training crash soon after Rio.
Reynolds is coached by Sam and trains with Alise.
"It's a brutal sport. It's a battle we're in out here," Reynolds said.
This was the three-time Olympian's first final and she said being cut from the national program was "always in the back of my mind".
"Something like this is a little bit sweeter now after what has been said and done," the 30-year-old said.
"I'm hungry and I want more."
She and Sakakibara vowed to compete again at the 2024 Paris Games.
Dutch rider Niek Kimman won the men's gold only days after colliding heavily with an official at training, and Briton Bethany Shriever took out the women's final.
Friday's schedule was put back by 45 minutes because of concerns about lightning and conditions were overcast, with some light rain.
Australian Associated Press