Trailblazing at the Youth Olympics – five facts about BMX freestyle park

With BMX freestyle park set to make its Olympic debut at the Youth Olympic Games (YOG) Buenos Aires 2018, takes a quick-fire look at an event that was also recently added to the programme for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.

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Gravity-defying tricks

BMX freestyle park is an exhilarating and fast-paced event that sees riders take it in turns to perform a series of thrilling aerial tricks and jumps over ramps, with steep transitions and other obstacles such as curbs, rails and walls. Each rider has two one-minute runs to impress the judges, who award a score of between 0 and 100 points based on a number of factors, including difficulty, originality, style and execution.

Big tricks, small bike

The bikes that riders use for freestyle park events are relatively small, with just 20-inch wheels (approx. 50 cm), meaning they are easier to control and move around for tricks. They’re also incredibly light, with aluminium frames meaning they weigh as little as 12kg.

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On the world stage

Other big international events have helped bring BMX freestyle park to a worldwide audience in recent years, but the first edition of the UCI BMX Freestyle Park World Cup was held in 2016. The inaugural season included five events, in locations ranging from the USA and Canada to China, France and Croatia, with Australia’s Logan Martin eventually claiming the men’s title, and 15 year-old American Hannah Roberts clinching the women’s crown. BMX freestyle park will also form part of the first-ever UCI Urban Cycling World Championships, which are due to take place from 8 to 12 November 2017 in Chengdu, China.

A new vocabulary

BMX freestyle park sees riders perform an array of tricks with names that are almost as impressive. From barspins and bunnyhops to can-cans, half-cabs and tailwhips, newcomers to the sport will soon find themselves speaking a whole new language.

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New stars for the Olympic stage

Those riders set to make history by competing in the first-ever Olympic BMX freestyle park event at the 2018 YOG will no doubt all be aiming to return to the Olympic stage two years later in Tokyo, when the event will also be part of the Olympic programme. US rider Hannah Roberts could be among those to star at both events, while other big names in the sport include Venezuela’s Daniel Dhers, who has won five X Games titles, and Daniel Sandoval, who claimed the X Games crown in 2015.