Bicycle Motocross, more commonly known as BMX, is making its first appearance in the Summer Olympics in Beijing this year. BMX will be the fourth cycling event in the Olympics, along with road, track and mountain biking, which made its debut in 1996. 48 riders, 32 men and 16 women, from 17 countries will be competing for the gold, and I will be watching.
The basic concept of BMX is fairly simple, the fastest guy or girl down the track wins. No points for style, no points for tricks. Races usually consist of 2 or 3 heats with 8 racers in each heat. That fastest four advance to the next heat. Most heats only last about 40 seconds but because racers start so close together and get reach speeds of up to 35mph, the crashes are frequent and spectacular.
While BMX is still seen as a bit of a “fringe” sport, it has come a long way in the past 30 years. BMX riding started back in the late 60’s and early 70’s when kids were trying to replicate tricks and stunts they saw motocross riders doing. It is not the first American-made sport to reach the Olympics though. Snowboarding and snowboard cross (similar to BMX racing) have both made it to the winter Olympics. Regardless, it will still be exciting to see American riders flying down the dirt track in Beijing and inspiring kids around the world to get out and ride.