Strombergs and Chausson first BMX Olympic champions

Maris Strombergs of Latvia has won the gold medal in men's BMX cycling, holding off American stars Mike Day and Donny Robinson for the title. Strombergs took control from the start and remained in the lead the whole way, claiming the first-ever BMX Olympic men's gold on Friday.

Picture by Getty Images

Anne-Caroline Chausson of France has won the first ever Olympic gold medal for BMX, finishing first in the high-speed eight-rider women's final. Her compatriot Laetitia Le Corguille took the silver, with Jill Kintner of the United States in bronze position.

Fast, young and fun

Making its Olympic debut in Beijing is one of the fastest and youngest cycling sports – BMX racing! With eight riders racing along a dirt track littered with jumps, banked corners and obstacles, this new cycling discipline is a spectacular addition to the Olympic Games programme.

From California…

Like so many fashionable sports, BMX cycling began in experimental 1960s California, and has grown in popularity since, with teenagers and young adults keen to enjoy an exciting and inexpensive action-packed activity.

…. to Bejiing

The Olympic BMX course at Laoshan, 50km south of the main Olympic velodrome, is 370m long for men, 350m long for women, and features a huge starting hill eight metres high. Eight riders, just centimetres from each other, propel themselves to speeds close to 65 km/h, allowing them to jump up to 14 metres. A field of 32 male riders (16 riders in the women's event) will compete, with the top four finishers in each heat moving up to the next level.