BMX premiered as an Olympic sport in 2008. This year's women's BMX squad will feature two accomplished athletes who are both making their Olympic debut. Both of them missed out on the Games in Beijing for different reasons. Arielle Martin and Alise Post are the ladies who will hit the dirt in pursuit of Olympic gold on their trusty bikes. Here's a little more about each of these phenomenal women.
Arielle Martin missed the Beijing Olympics by a single point following an unfortunate crash at the world championships. This year, she secured a spot at the London games by virtue of her top spot in the BMX power rankings. As the overall points leader, she was guaranteed a spot on Team USA.
Martin's Twitter account sums things up nicely. "I pedal little bikes fast over big jumps." Yes, that's the sport of BMX in a nutshell. But the fact that she has been competing since she was just a little kid, that she has been off training wheels since she was 2 ½ years old, and that she is one of the best in the world at this sport makes her motto seem more than a bit understated.
Alise Post's road to the 2012 Olympics did not come without sacrifice. Those big jumps Martin mentions on her Twitter page - Post took a huge 35 foot jump at around 35 miles per hour in 2011 and blew out her knee. Before that, in 2010, she broke a leg. Her injuries did not keep her from being a BMX star, but they did keep her from building enough points for an automatic berth to the Olympics.
The second women's BMX spot was not a guaranteed position, but was left to be filled by a discretionary nominee. Post secured that nomination and is headed for her first Olympic Games. She missed the Beijing Olympics because she was simply too young to compete. At age 17, she missed the cut off by two years. Now, as a two-time national champion with many more elite competitions on her resume, she is a medal favorite at age 21.
The big event
Don't look for the USA BMX team at the Opening Ceremony in London. They are not due to arrive until August 1, because they want more time to practice before the big event. The women's preliminary races are scheduled for August 8, with the semifinals and finals to occur on August 10. Jill Kintner won the bronze medal in the inaugural women's BMX event in 2008. Martin and Post aim to improve on that impressive beginning.
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Tavia Fuller Armstrong is an Oklahoma resident and a lifelong fan of the Olympic Games with old photos of commemorative childhood haircuts to prove it.
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