Freestyle BMX Park has been added to the list of 2020 Olympics events in Tokyo, Japan.
We have always heard rumors that there have been talks about trying to get the freestyle aspect of BMX into the Olympics, but it always seemed like such a long shot. Racing made sense, since it was clearly something that went with the overall direction of the worldwide event that happens every four years. There was some momentum to add freestyle BMX to the Olympics a few years ago, but then it kind of faded off and seemed unlikely. Skateboarding was added to the Olympics, but there has been a lot of drama and controversy around that because some skaters feel it shouldn’t be put in a mainstream event like that. Which didn’t help make it seem likely that we would see BMX making any moves.
Then, today, we were tipped off that things have been moving forward all along, and now it looks like we will be seeing Freestyle BMX Park in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics after approval from the UCI (Union Cycliste Internationale) and IOC (International Olympic Committee)! There’s an article that has been posted on Inside The Games confirming and discussing the addition of Freestyle BMX Park and 3×3 Basketball, along with Parkour being denied and more. We have also added a full press release from the UCI on the news at the bottom of this post.
It’s only 2017, but the next few years should be very interesting as the whole format of the event and qualifiers for the contest will likely get very competitive. We can also imagine we’ll be hearing a lot of jokes about riders failing drug testing, since that one has been going around since the first time rumors of this movement to get freestyle BMX in the Olympics has started. It would appear that the UCI will be the sanctioning body behind the organization of how riders trying to compete in Freestyle BMX Park at the Olympics, which was expected since that partnership has been a big part of events like UCI BMX World Cup series that we would assume has helped legitimize the event in the eyes of the Olympic committees.
Update: We have received an email from Bart de Jong who is the UCI’s Freestyle BMX advisor confirming the news and he added that for 2020 there will only be 9 spots for Men and 9 for Women to compete in the event. We would assume the number of riders that will compete is due to the tight rules the Olympics have on the total number of competitors that can compete in all of the events. It sounds like riders will have to compete in UCI sanctioned events to qualify for a spot on that list.
We will keep you posted as we find out more about Freestyle BMX Park being added to the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, Japan! This is exciting news and should lead to a lot of new eyes on our sport and potentially gaining a little more respect from outside of the BMX community. We could see this having a big effect on skateparks that ban BMX bikes as well.
UPDATE: OFFICIAL PRESS RELEASE FROM UCI CONFIRMING THE NEWS
“The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) is delighted to announce that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has agreed to add the Madison and BMX Freestyle Park to the Programme of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. The decision was made at today’s meeting of the IOC Executive Board in Lausanne, Switzerland.
Named after legendary races organised at Madison Square Garden in New York (USA), the Madison is a dynamic, exciting and technically demanding track cycling event, which requires excellent bike handling skills, balance, strategic capability, observation and tactics. The Madison will appear on the Olympic Programme with both men’s and women’s races and two new Olympic gold medals to be won on the track.
The race, which is 50km for men, and 30km for women, involves two riders, a sprinter and a rouleur, working as a team to propel each other forward as they meet between laps. Teams sprint every 10 laps to accumulate points according to the following structure: five points to the first team, three points to the second, two points to the third, and one point to the 4th. Points awarded in the last sprint will be doubled. In addition to the sprints, teams can earn 20 points for lapping the field. The winner is the team with the most points at the end of the race. Famous pairs include many riders who have also been champions on the road such as Juan Esteban Curuchet-Walter Perez (Argentina), Mark Cavendish-Bradley Wiggins (Great Britain), Howard Leigh-Cameron Meyer (Australia) and current women World Champions Lotte Kopecky-Jolien D’Hoore (Belgium) crowned in April in Hong-Kong.
BMX Freestyle Park is a spectacular, crowd-pleasing discipline, which takes place on ramps with big transitions and large obstacles. Competitors are judged on tricks performed throughout the course, with points awarded based on difficulty, originality, style and execution. Each rider in both the men’s and women’s events gets two one-minute runs (which both count) to impress the judges, who will reward the rider with a score between 0-100 points, with the ultimate goal being the award of an Olympic gold medal. Famous riders include Logan Martin (Australia), Daniel Dhers (Venezuela), Alex Coleborn (Great Britain) for men, Nikita Ducarroz (Switzerland), Macarena Perez (Chile) and UCI World Cup title holder, 15-year-old Hannah Roberts (USA) for women.
In addition, in line with the UCI’s strategy to promote women’s cycling and the IOC’s Agenda 2020, it was agreed that for Mountain Bike and BMX Racing, several quotas previously allocated to men athletes would be transferred to women, achieving full gender equity in both disciplines.
UCI President Brian Cookson said: “I am thrilled to see four more cycling events joining the Olympic programme. With competitions across very different disciplines, cycling already makes a large and diverse contribution to the Olympic Games, and now becomes the third largest sport in terms of gold medals, with 22 on offer. I am also delighted that we have made another big step towards full gender equity across all of our disciplines.
“I want to thank President Bach and the IOC Executive Board for their confidence and reiterate the UCI’s full commitment to make Tokyo 2020 a great success for cycling. I also want to thank our partner FISE for the role they have played in the development of BMX Freestyle over the past 20 years.
“The Madison will bring its long-established history and exciting format to the Games, while BMX Freestyle Park has great potential to open the event up to a whole new generation of athletes and fans. In an increasingly competitive landscape for Olympic sport, it is important not only to see our overall quota remain unchanged, but to also welcome the award of four additional opportunities for medals in Olympic cycling disciplines.
“I am proud of the effort made over the past few years by all of our National Federations, event organisers, teams and riders, which has helped us improve cycling’s strong position within the Olympic Movement. I am fully committed to continue this work and I am convinced that after extremely successful Games in Rio in 2016, Tokyo will take our sport to another exciting level.”” – Union Cycliste Internationale
You can check out the official word direct from the Olympics website as well.
What do you think about Freestyle BMX Park being added to the Olympics? Let us know in the comments below!