Huge news here, as BMX Freestyle Park has just been confirmed as a sport in the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.
After BMX Racing made its debut in the 2008 Beijing games, it’s now the turn of freestyle riders to consider themselves true athletes and begin training to become Olympians.
Last year, skateboarding was announced as an Olympic event, sparking numerous opinion pieces about how we define freestyle action sports. How does BMX fit into all this?
“By including BMX alongside skateboarding, surfing and climbing as events the IOC is obviously attempting to appeal to a more diverse audience”
It seems that for Tokyo 2020 the Olympic Committee is trying to make The Olympic Games ‘younger’. By including BMX, skateboarding, surfing and climbing as events, they’re obviously attempting to appeal to a more diverse audience – perhaps the kind of audience that ordinarily would only have a passing interest in the Olympics.
The move will inevitably inspire some heated debates however. It goes without saying that BMX, like skating and surfing, has incredibly strong roots, with a tight culture surrounding it. The fact that many people see BMX more as a lifestyle than a sport leads to some inevitable contradictions when it gets treated as an official, measured activity on a global stage. At the same time, there’s no doubt that being an Olympic sport will bring new opportunities for freestyle BMX riders and the sport as a whole in terms of sponsorship.
“I think it’s a good thing for BMX, 100%”
So far, the reactions from riders seems to be largely positive. British BMX rider Alex Coleborn, told our sister site Ride UK: “I think it’s really sick, having BMX go that step further to the Olympics is just unreal.
“We’ve never really had that opportunity before so to be a part of the GB team would just mean a hell of a lot. To be an olympian… There’s probably not much you’d want more than that, being a sportsman. I definitely want to be on that squad.”
Australian BMXer Logan Martin agrees: “I think it’s a good thing for BMX, 100%. The more exposure the better, I think. The Olympics is the pinnacle. Growing up, watching the games, everyone is at the top of their sport. To get BMX in the Olympics is literally amazing.
He believes, the idea that BMXers are more concerned with pissing about and partying than serious training is increasingly a thing of the past anyway. “I think more and more riders are becoming athletes. They’re training more, eating properly, looking after themselves to make a difference to their performance. Over the last year or two I’ve seen it pick up a lot, and the next four years going into the Olympics it’s gonna pick up even more.”