It’s every professional cyclist’s dream to compete at the Olympics, and that includes BMX die-hards. We want to showcase our stunts and possibly win a medal for ourselves and our country. But is BMX an Olympic sport?
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) introduced BMX racing during the 2008 Beijing Olympics, and just recently, during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, freestyle BMX was made an Olympic sport.
So, whether you are a BMX freestyler or racer, you now have the opportunity to represent your nation’s flag at the world’s grandest sports stage, the Olympics.
Let me explain what it takes for the IOC to include any sport into the Olympics calendar and briefly look at BMX’s Olympic journey.
What It Takes for Any Sport to Be at The Olympics
Generally, the IOC is responsible for approving any sport at the Olympics.
But first, everything has to go through the International Federation (IF). Once a sport has been submitted to IF, the IF must enforce IOC’s anti-dope code to ensure the competitors do not use any performance-enhancing drugs.
After that, the IF follows the following steps:
Step 1 – Petition Filing
Once the sport convinces the IF about its eligibility for the Olympics, they file a formal petition to seek admittance of the sport by the IOC.
Step 2 – IOC Response
The IOC responds to IF’s petition by classifying the petitioned sport as an Olympic sport, an Olympic event, or an Olympic discipline.
For example, women’s wrestling is an Olympic discipline, while pole vaulting is an event at the Olympics but not a sport.
Cycling, however, is a sport according to Olympics standards.
So, what criteria does the IOC use to determine an Olympic sport?
Well, according to the IOC, a sport should meet these basics:
- Be practiced by men in at least four continents and women in at least three continents.
- Improve the appeal and value of the Olympics
- Reflect the Olympics’ modern traditions
- Rely on mechanical propulsion
- It must have existed for a long time
- Popular in the host country
In addition to the above, the IOC also considers the cost of hosting the sport, whether a reputable international body governs it and if it complies with the world’s anti-doping code.
Everything doesn’t stop after the IOC accepts the IF’s petition. The IOC routinely reviews every sport it recently added to the Olympics calendar to ensure its organizers observe its code.
If not, the IOC removes it from the Olympics calendar. That’s what happened to tug of war, water skiing, cricket, polo, and powerboating. They are no longer Olympic sports, even though they were once not so long ago.
So, Is BMX an Olympic Sport?
BMX, short for bicycle motocross, meets all the discussed IOC requirements, making it an Olympic sport. It’s worth noting, however, that we’ve two major types of BMX; BMX racing and freestyle BMX.
The IOC added these two BMX sports to the Olympics calendar at different times. BMX racing, which was the first to be introduced to the Olympics, was first recognized by the IOC as a cycling sport in 2003 and was formally introduced in 2008 at the Beijing Olympics under the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI).
On the other hand, Freestyle BMX was only recognized by the IOC as an Olympic sport in 2017 and added to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Note that due to the global Covid 19 pandemic, the IOC staged the 2020 Olympics in 2021.
About BMX Racing as an Olympic BMX Sport
BMX racing is an off-road cycling sport that borrows a lot from motocross (MX) racing. BMX riders, in this case, race on designated off-road tracks primarily for competition purposes.
The paths commonly feature several jumps and a finish line. BMX racing was recognized as an Olympic sport by the IOC in 2003 when the IOC announced that the sport would feature at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
In the U.S, BMX racing is sanctioned by the Bicycle United Motocross Society (BUMS), National Bicycle League (NBL), National Bicycle Association (NBA), the American Bicycle Association (ABA), and the US BMX.
And when it comes to the international front, BMX racing is sanctioned by the Union Cycliste International (UCI).
One of the finest BMX bikes for BMX racing is the Redline Bicycles MX-20 (Check on Amazon). It comes with a race saddle and a lightweight racing style frame for ease of riding and sprinting. The BMX generally suits riders who are 5’3″ -5’8″ tall.
About Freestyle BMX as a BMX Olympic Sport
Freestyle BMX is an extreme cycling sport that descends from BMX racing. Unlike BMX racing, freestyle BMX is about stunts and not off-road racing. Generally, there are five disciplines of freestyle BMX:
- Park freestyle BMX – In this discipline, you freestyle on skate parks. So, you share the same parks as skaters, skateboarders, and scooter riders. The commonest skate parks feature concrete which takes all abuse.
- Street freestyle BMX – In street freestyle BMX, riders perform stunts on the streets and other public places. The tricks are performed on banks, stairs, handrails, and other challenging obstacles. BMX bikes for freestyle riding usually have steeper angles than others, and their wheelbases are short.
- Trail freestyle BMX – Here, you ride on dirt-lined paths with obstacles that require you to jump over. So, sometimes trail freestyle BMX biking is known as dirt jumping. Trail riding focuses more on overcoming obstacles than racing.
- Flatland freestyle BMX – Flatland freestyle BMX happens on flatter and smoother surfaces such as basketball courts and paved parks. The events involve splinting/racing and balancing routines, and the BMX typically features pegs.
- Vert Ramp freestyle BMX – Here, you perform on pipes that are closely set and facing each but are about 2.5-3.5m high. Typically, BMX riders perform their tricks or jump on these pipes.
One fantastic BMX freestyle bike that you can use for all these types of freestyle BMX is the Mongoose Legion BMX (Check on Amazon).
This freestyle BMX is available in more than five frame sizes to suit kids and adults of varying heights. Its selling point, however, is its ease of riding and robustness.
The BMX bike can take all terrains and is generally rider-friendly. You can use it to perform just about any stunt.
People Also Ask
1. Is BMX an Olympic Event?
BMX racing was added to the Olympics in 2008 but was recognized by the IOC in 2003. In contrast, freestyle BMX was only added to the Olympics in 2021 during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. So, from now onwards, BMX continues to be an Olympic sport.
2. Is Freestyle BMX an Olympic Sport?
The IOC (International Olympic Committee) recognized freestyle BMX as an Olympic sport in 2017 and added it to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Before that, only BMX racing was recognized as an Olympic sport.
3. Is BMX Still an Olympic Sport?
Since the 2008 Beijing Olympics, BMX racing has been recognized as an Olympic sport. Recently, during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, the IOC added freestyle BMX into the Olympics games calendar. So, yes, BMX is still an Olympic sport.
4. Is BMX Racing an Olympic Sport?
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) recognized BMX racing as an Olympic sport in 2003 and added it to the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Since then, BMX racing has been a constant feature at the Olympics. So, yes, BMX racing is an Olympic sport.
5. Why is BMX an Olympic Sport?
BMX is an Olympic sport because it meets the IOC code for sports. According to the IOC, for any sport to feature at the Olympics, it must be popular in most countries. The host nation should be governed by a recognized international body and comply with the anti-doping code.
BMX meets all these requirements, earning it the right to be at the Olympics.
6. What Are Olympics BMX Bikes Made of?
Olympics BMX bikes are hardy. They mostly feature aluminum or chromium steel frames that are rust-resistant and lightweight.
7. Is BMX in the Olympics?
Currently, both BMX racing and freestyle BMX events feature at the Olympics. BMX racing is all about sprinting off-road and on the streets, while freestyle BMX is about performing stunts on the roads, trails, and parks. The IOC recognizes both disciplines as Olympic sports.
8. Is BMX an Extreme Sport?
BMX freestyle is an extreme sport involving risky stunts and aggressive riding. But when it comes to BMX racing, it’s considered just a cycling sport and not an extreme sport. But overall, it takes experience and gut to ride any BMX bike.
9. Who Won the Olympics BMX Freestyle?
The first person to win the freestyle BMX at the Olympics was Hannah Roberts, a member of Team USA. She scored an outstanding tally of 96.10.
10. When Did BMX Become an Olympic Sport?
BMX racing became an Olympic sport in 2008 as part of the 2008 Olympics. Freestyle BMX, however, was only added to the 2020 Olympics.
Is BMX an Olympic Sport? Closing Thought:
BMX racing and freestyle BMX are now Olympic sports. So, if your dream is to compete at the Olympics with a BMX bike, you can choose between freestyle BMX and racing BMX.