Guide to Olympic Cycling: BMX

Thrills and spills, plenty of action and tonnes of drama - Olympic BMX is not to be missed. The pros don't come out to play, they come out to ride hard.

 

Read on to discover more about Olympic BMX and Aussies to look for.

What time is it on?

 

Times are in AEST. If you're viewing on mobile, you'll need to switch your phone to landscape mode to see the full guide.

If you just want to see the highlights, Channel 7 will be running a nightly recap show at 7pm (AEST) on its main channel.

Date Start Time End Time Discipline Event
17th Aug 1:45am 3:30am BMX Women's Seeding Runs
  3:30am 4:22am   Men's Seeding Runs
18th Aug 1:45am 3:53am BMX Men's Quarter Finals
19th Aug 1:45am 5:03am BMX Men's and Women's Finals
        See the full Viewing Guide for more

 

History

 

Bicycle moto cross, commonly known as BMX originated in the late 1960s in California. The sports first world championships took place in none other than thrill-seeking Las Vegas in 1982. As a sport, BMX made it’s Olympic debut in the 2008 Beijing Olympics making this event the most recent cycling discipline to be added in the modern era.

The Event

 

Essentially an obstacle course on wheels, but so much more - with incredible thrills and spills Olympic BMX will keep you on the edge of your seat.

Riders begin at the top of an elevated, 8 metre high ramp to ensure they build up enough pace to hit the course at speed. Eight riders begin each course with the first four to cross the finish line proceeding to the next round. The course is 300-400 metres of jumps, banked corners and pure excitement.

The first race is seeding race, essentially ranking and separating the riders. From there it’s pure knock-out - first four in, last four out. This is to ensure the fastest riders don’t meet to contend for medals until the very last race making for an exciting and dramatic final.

The aim of the game is obviously to finish first, but more importantly, to not fall off - this event isn’t all about speed. It’s a technical discipline requiring race awareness, controlled aggression and excellent handling skills.

BMX bikes are smaller than mountain bikes for more dynamic handling, with wheels at only 20-inches. They’re single-geared, with one brake and are built with robust frames for soaking up impacts. Riders wear helmets, gloves and padded clothing for protection against those inevitable wipeouts.

BMX at the Olympics

Did you know?

 

Riders can begin competing for the World No. 1 spot from the age of 5!

Aussies to look for

Men’s - Sam Willoughby, Anthony Dean and Bodi Turner

 

Women’s - Caroline Buchanan, Lauren Reynolds

 

Are we a medal chance?

Currently ranked 6th in the world, Sam Willoughby is in good form to follow up his London 2012 silver with a gold at Rio. His biggest competition this year will be two-time Olympic champion, Latvian and machine Maris Strombergs. If the current World Rankings are anything to go by, Willoughby has a good chance at holding position ahead of 7th place Strombergs.

She’s gone from strength to strength in the last few years and Caroline Buchanan is a sure fire chance at gold at this year’s Games. She finished 5th at London 2012 and 2nd at this year's World Championships. She’ll find strong competition in Columbian Mariana Pajon, defending gold medalist and current World Champion, but with a strong start Buchanan is set to make some waves.

Cycling at the Olympics

 

Find out everything you've ever wanted to know about all the awesome Cycling events at the Olympics:

 

 
 

Photo credits: Phil Walter/Getty Images Europe, Getty Images/Australian Olympic Website