Track Breakdown for the Olympics BMX Games in Rio 2016
BMX Olympic racing will be one of the most enthralling events at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics, with the likes of Team GB star Liam Phillips set to battle it out with teammate Kyle Evans and the rest of the world’s best for a place on the podium. We’ve been running some essential articles in the lead up to the Olympic BMX racing in order to keep you right and get you excited; interviewing Liam Phillips, covering the Olympic BMX rules, looking at when the Olympic BMX games are on, the history of the sport and the main Olympic BMX contenders.
Now, it’s time to have a look at the track. What is a BMX track? What will the Olympic BMX track look like? Here’s the breakdown:
The starting hill: a drop or slope after the start gate which gives the rider the speed they need to maintain for the rest of the race. The drop in after the gates open is eight metres high.
Stretch One: After coming out the start gate, the riders will face a step-up, a small hill followed by a bigger hill, then a double, two hills spaced out enough to create a jump in between, and a second step-up before turning left into the first berm.
Stretch Two: After making the first turn, the men will split off to the right of the course and face two doubles, a step-down, which is a large hill followed by a smaller hill, and a huge final double which leads into the second corner, turning right.
The women at this stage will take the left track and face a smaller series of doubles before the second corner.
Stretch Three: After making the second turn, the riders will immediately face another double before a series of rollers leads on to the left turn on the third berm.
The final stretch: A final section of smaller rollers will lead up to the finish line
Length: The men’s track is 400m, while the women’s track is 372m
Controversy With the Olympic BMX Track for Rio de Janeiro 2016
There has been some controversy over the safety of the BMX racing track for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games.
During a test of the course back in October 2015, Team GB star Liam Phillips was forced to speak out against the track, saying it was “too dangerous" and that unless some changes were made, would be unrideable.
The course has indeed since changed, and Phillips told BBC Sport that he’s glad he spoke out about it.
“Six months ago it was unrideable - it was actually impossible to do a lap from start to finish," he said.
"I felt obliged [to speak out] because there are a lot of young kids coming into the sport and we needed to stand up because the situation was upsetting.
"We want to race and be on the podium because you have beaten other riders, not just survived the track - and that's literally what we were dealing with last year."
"They only finished the day before we started riding [when we last returned to the track], so the surface was still soft and there were teething issues, but it will be a very good race track in Rio."