BMX debuted at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, so the competition in London will only be the second ever to be contested at the Olympic Games. The sport features riders on bicycles jumping over obstacles and flying through the course at top speeds. Athletes wear helmets, gloves and long shirts and pants in order to protect themselves, as it's common for riders to fall off their bikes before reaching the finish line.
Qualification Process: How do BMX Riders Qualify for the Olympics?
BMX riders can qualify for the 2012 Olympic Games in one of two ways: They can either place highly enough at the 2012 UCI BMX World Championships, or they can qualify based on their UCI ranking.
In total, 32 men and 16 women will be selected to compete in respective men's and women's events. One gold medal will be awarded for each gender.
Competition Format: BMX at the 2012 Olympic Games
At the 2012 Olympic Games, the men's and women's BMX competitions will each begin with a seeding round. In this round, the athletes will ride the course one time to determine the heat position each rider will take during the tournament.
From there, the men begin the quarterfinal round, with the top four riders from each heat advancing. Because there are fewer female riders, the women begin with the semi-final round. Once again, the top four riders advance to the next round.
Each heat is made up of eight riders, and the last eight riders left in both the men's and the women's competition have the opportunity to compete in the final heat for an Olympic medal.
BMX in London: When is the Competition Held?
The BMX competitions at the 2012 Olympic Games are scheduled to be held from Aug. 8-Aug 10, 2012 on the BMX Track in the Olympic Park. The men's and women's final will both be held on the final day of BMX competition, according to the official London 2012 website.
Sandra Johnson is a longtime Olympic fan. While working for the United States Olympic Committee and living in the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., Johnson had the opportunity to immerse herself in the Olympic Movement. Follow her on Twitter: @SandraJohnson46.
- Sports & Recreation
- Summer Olympics
- 2012 Olympic Games
- 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing