BMX, which stands for bicycle motocross, is an extreme sport that was founded in the United States in the early 70s. Since its inception, BMX has seen a steady rise in popularity, and was eventually introduced to the Beijing Olympics in 2008.
Despite being the “forefathers” of BMX, the USA BMX Olympic team seeks its first gold medal in Rio in the upcoming weeks to gain redemption from disappointing outings in the last two Olympics. BMX fans will surely know about the close race between Mike Day of the US and Maris Strombergs of Latvia in the 2008 Olympics, with the latter beating the former for the gold. The 2012 Olympics saw a poorer performance by the US contingent coming up with zero medals in the games.
This string of losses can be attributed to various factors, which include the exponential rise of support for BMX athletes in other countries and the lack of resources for US athletes.
“On the BMX side, that is a really strong element for the sport of cycling and we have really strong BMX athletes. So we have some success stories on our side. The problem is that we don’t have enough resources to have a broader base, which is a little disappointing.” said USA cycling CEO Derek Bouchard-Hall in an interview with cycling news.
”Ever since it was announced it was put into the Olympics, the level of the sport has risen exponentially. All of a sudden, programs get created, money gets thrown at it,” he stated in another interview with AP, referring to international growth of the sport.
As the USA BMX Olympic team seeks its first gold medal in Rio, their leading gold medal prospect, Connor Fields, is simply seeking revenge for his seventh-place finish in London 2012. He’ll be coming up against Strombergs in the Rio BMX track, though, who is seeking his third gold medal in this year’s games.
PHOTO COURTESY: Klaus Friese/ Flickr