BMX in the London Olympics


The fast paced sport of BMX is making only its second Olympic appearance this year in London. From its early beginnings in California in the 1960’s, bicycle motocross, known to you and me as BMX sprung up in response to the motorised motocross sport that was sweeping the US at the time. BMX has since become a worldwide phenomenon with people of all ages taking a recreational part in the sport.

London Olympic BMX Races

Competition Details

  • Dates: Wednesday 8th – Friday 10th August 2012.
  • Venue: The BMX Track – Olympic Park
  • Medal Events: One men’s and one women’s competition.
  • Competitors: 32 men and 16 women. Each country is limited to three men and two women per team.
  • The Course: Men’s track 450 metres, Women’s track 440 metres. Both tracks are out door and are complete with jumps, tight corners, banks and bumps as well as an 8 metre high starting ramp.

London Olympic BMX Races

About BMX

The sport made its Olympic debut at the 2008 games in Beijing and it is the latest addition to the programme of Olympic cycling events, it is an event that promises to develop and grow with each games.

BMX Basics

  • Events take place on a short track, outdoors.
  • Riders start atop an 8 metre high ramp.
  • Races last around 40 seconds.
  • BMX Bikes have one gear and one brake only.
  • Bikes are lightweight and durable, built for speed and stamina.

Competition Basics

  • Before events start each rider will complete the track once to determine their seeding position for the start of the races.
  • The women’s events go straight to a semi final, the men have quarter finals.
  • The semi finals employ a three run format with the top four racers at the end of the three runs meeting in the final race.
  • Gold is given to the fastest rider in the final run.
  • Officials are stationed along the course to ensure all riders abide by the rules.

Olympic BMX

Sticking to the Rules

Despite the riders needing to be both fearless and to be as fast they possibly can, there is no room for any error on the track and not only do the riders have to deliver peak performance, they also have to stay out of trouble. There are plenty of marshals positioned around the track to insure that there are no infringements of the rules. Riders must not be seen to deliberately interfere with the progress of another rider; neither must they come into contact with anyone else on the track. Race officials can deliver a first and then second warning, any further infringements and the rider will be immediately disqualified.

BMX Jargon

  • Berm : A banked corner of the track
  • Bunny Hop: When the rider lifts both wheel of the bike off the floor at the same time.
  • Gate: The start of the BMX race track.
  • Holeshot: The first rider to take the lead when the race is underway.
  • Whoop: Wave like bums along the course of the track.

Creative Commons Photos by Sum of Marc