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The mail bag: BMX, good, bad, indifferent; Henk’s head

Dear VeloNews;If the Olympic Games hadn't developed at the beginning of the 20th century - during the heyday of bicycle racing - track events probably wouldn't have been included at their current level, ayway. At this point in history, outside of Europe, track cycling remains a marginal sport, at best. What gets cut isn't too tough to call. The IOC defers to the UCI, and we all know Hein Verbruggen's devotion to the almighty TV audience. Events have to be short, exciting and easily comprehensible to the non-cyclist. The five women's events (match sprint, 500-meter time trial, Keirin,

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Dear VeloNews;
If the Olympic Games hadn’t developed at the beginning of the 20th century – during the heyday of bicycle racing – track events probably wouldn’t have been included at their current level, ayway. At this point in history, outside of Europe, track cycling remains a marginal sport, at best. What gets cut isn’t too tough to call. The IOC defers to the UCI, and we all know Hein Verbruggen’s devotion to the almighty TV audience. Events have to be short, exciting and easily comprehensible to the non-cyclist.

The five women’s events (match sprint, 500-meter time trial, Keirin, individual pursuit and points race) are untouchable, and they should be. There are seven men’s events (match sprint, the kilometer time trial, Keirin, Olympic sprint, individual pursuit, team pursuit, and points race). Remember, the Madison was an “exhibition” event in 2000. There’s no way it gets into the permanent line-up, now.

The boys are probably going to be scaled-back to resemble the women’s schedule. I’d venture to say that Olympic sprint and team pursuit are gone. The individual pursuit could get the ax, being more time-consuming and less appealing for TV than the Olympic sprint, but that would ‘slant’ the program toward the short distance specialist. In the broader scope of Olympic cycling, that kind of specialization is an intriguing possibility:

There are already an Olympic road and individual time trial events for the longer distance cyclists. If you’re going to broaden the scope of cycling within the Olympic movement, BMX is the next logical step after introducing mountain-bike racing as they did in 1996.

The UCI might just encourage an Olympic program that makes the velodrome an environment favoring the shorter distance cyclist. And, if the popularity of track cycling continues to drop, the UCI won’t hesitate to cut further.Mike Kallal
Indianapolis
(Cat. 1 track)

More track!
Editors;
BMX is not a good choice. They need to add track events, not cut them.

Steve Gerard

You say you want an Evo-lution
Editors;
Change and evolution of sport is terrific! Even at this painfully slow progression. We, as a dedicated cycling family, feel that BMX is only the initiation to cycling available to many young boys and girls. The sport of cycling continues into much more technical and advanced training with mountain biking events such as 4-cross and downhill. Even the UCI has advanced in recent years with the World Cup series and the world championships in downhill, 4-cross and cross-country.Winter sport has evolved this way as well!!!Thank you for your consideration!The Lunn Family
Parksville, B.C., Canada

Code Blue at the Velodrome
Editors;
Hey, why not “Go Fish” as an Olympic sport? Or Monopoly? Anything but track cycling!Track cyclist need to take this as a wake up call. Hey dudes the sport is dying! We need to do something about it.Michael Gordon
Birmingham, AL
(Home to no Velodrome.)

Do it by the numbers
Dear VeloNews;
Track is great. I love that there is track racing. They are fantastic athletes. But the issue here is that few people are doing it, and there is a lack of track facilities to train and race on. But BMX is the opposite. Kids are riding, adults are riding and families go to the races. It is something that is growing in popularity and should be in the Olympics. It involves a very high degree of skill and specific fitness, and the increase in mainstream exposure will help to give kids role models and bring more people out to ride bikes.For the record, I race pro/elite cross-country, train mostly on the road, coach an international BMX athlete and my list of bikes I own are: two mountain bikes; one road bike; one track bike and one BMX. So there is my bias.I do, however, really feel for the young riders coming up who were hoping to go the Olympics in a track event which will be cut. Hopefully they will be able to start training for another discipline within the sport.

Dan Marshall,
Markham OntarioHenk’s Helmet
Editors;
The story “How’s Henk? Vogels recovering from brutal crash” is indeed a testimony to how important a helmet is to bicycle safety. Are there any pictures that exist that could be e-mailed so that even the recreational riders could see the importance of helmets? I ride recreationally with a 20 other riders purely for fun but helmets are still important.
Thanks
Jim Turner



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