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Olympic triathlete shatters pelvis after crash with deer in London park

Evening Standard logo Evening Standard 22/05/2019 BENEDICT MOORE-BRIDGER
a group of people playing frisbee in a park © Provided by Independent Digital News & Media Limited

A triathlete who helped the Brownlee brothers to victory at London 2012 shattered his pelvis after being thrown from his bicycle in a crash with a deer in Richmond Park.

Stuart Hayes, 40, was cycling down Broomfield Hill, one of the fastest stretches of the route, when a full-grown female deer “belted” across the road in front of him.

The athlete was sent flying from the saddle and smashed his hip as he landed on the kerb.

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Paramedics rushed to help after onlookers dialled 999 and he was taken by ambulance to Kingston Hospital where he faces major surgery for multiple fractures.

Today, from his hospital bed, he told the Standard: “I’m on a lot of painkillers so I don’t feel too bad, but the doctors told me it was serious.”

At London 2012 Hayes was selected as the third athlete in the British men’s team, in the role of “domestique” to Alistair and Jonathan Brownlee, propelling the brothers to gold and bronze medals respectively.

He is now a triathlon coach alongside his wife Michelle Dillon — a former World and European champion and two-time Olympian — training more than 50 athletes, from beginners to elites such as Emma Pallant. Hayes, from Twickenham, said he had been doing laps of the park with a friend when the incident occurred at around 10.40am yesterday.

He said: “As I hit the bend a deer ran straight out across the road into me. I hit it on the head — it sent me flying and I landed on my hip. Originally I thought I was fine but when I tried to stand up my leg just buckled.”

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The deer sprinted away after the collision, he said.

“It must have been injured but it just ran off. Normally they stop, or you can slow down, but this one just belted across the road.”

He added: “I’ve been going round the park for 25 years and never had a problem, but the doctors told me it is quite common for cross country runners to be taken out by deers.”

Red and fallow deer in the park have entered the birthing season, with 300 calves and fawns expected to be born in the next two months.

Adam Curtis, assistant park manager, said: “This incident is a reminder to all park users that the deer in Richmond Park are wild animals. Please be aware of them when travelling through and give way.”

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