By VeloNews Interactive
It started as kids’ alternative to moto cross and, 40 years later, it stands on the threshold of becoming an Olympic sport.
According to an announcement released by the International Olympic Committee on Monday, BMX is now slated to join the Olympic program in 2008 in Beijing, replacing two yet-to-be-named track events that will be pulled.
According to IOC president, Jacques Rogge, one women’s and one men’s BMX race will be added. Rogge called BMX a “new, spectacular event.”
“We believe that this introduction will definitely enhance the Olympic program,” he said.
The two new races won’t increase the number of events or athletes in Beijing, Rogge said.
Rogge said the Union Cycliste Internationale is now studying which two events in the current program were the least popular and would be replaced by BMX.Initial plans call for the races to be held on the infield of the Beijing velodrome. An elimination process will see the fastest in each heat advancing to the next round. The heats are expected to take less than a minute each.
The introduction of BMX is an attempt to attract the interest of a younger generation, much like the addition of mountain-bike racing in the 1996 Olympics, snowboarding in 1998 and freestyle skiing in the early ’90s.Two sports, triathlon and tae kwon do, were added for the Sydney Olympics in 2000, but there is increasing pressure to cut rather than add sports.
Since he relaced Juan Antonio Samaranch as IOC president in 2001, Rogge has been pushing to contain spending and “gigantism” in the Olympics.
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