Rim Nakamura competes in Huntington Beach. Photo by Harry How/Getty Images
Rim Nakamura competes in Huntington Beach. Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

BMX freestyle’s creative style will bring a new feel to Olympic Cycling.


BMX has its roots in the racing culture that existed in California in the mid-1970s. Inspired by motocross riders, children tried to imitate their heroes by performing airborne tricks on their bikes. The sport has been transformed from grassroots and a “misfit” culture to a mainstream sport thanks to extensive television coverage which has made it recognisable around the world with World Championships now held annually.

At Tokyo 2020 Games, competitors will compete in the park discipline which sees riders execute tricks on obstacles such as walls, box jumps and spines. They are given 60 seconds to perform acrobatics tricks and skills, with tricks scored on multiple aspects including difficulty, originality, execution, height and creativity.

BMX freestyle will make its Olympic debut at Tokyo 2020, where it will bring a fresh, youthful feel to the Olympic programme.

Tokyo 2020 competition animation "One Minute, One Sport"

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One Minute, One Sport | Cycling

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Event Programme

  • Park (Men/Women)

Essence of the sport

Exciting tricks, originality and creativity

In Tokyo there will be just nine men and nine women riders, with the host nation Japan taking one of those spots. Despite the event being one of the smallest at the Olympic Games, it will be fiercely contested among the world’s top riders.

Riders will participate in two 60-second runs and will be given a score based on their performance for each run, with riders ranked based on their average score. The highest-scoring rider will go last in the final.

This means that even if a rider scores poorly in the first run, they have a second run to fall back on. One tactic that riders use is to initially do a conservative run, and then go all-out with extreme tricks and originality in the second. Riders competing last, especially in the final, have the benefit of seeing how previous riders performed, and use this to their advantage by adapting their performance.

Many exciting tricks are performed including backflips, tailwhips, barspins and the superman which makes the discipline exciting to watch.

Outlook for the Tokyo 2020 Games

Podium spots up for grabs in Tokyo debut

The world’s best freestyle riders are preparing to seize their chance to make history as the first BMX freestyle gold medallist.

Australia's Logan Martin will be a favourite for the Olympic title, having won the 2021 UCI Urban Cycling World Championships. However, he is likely to be challenged by Venezuela’s Daniel Dhers, a rider whose creative and skilful style continues to surprise spectators.

Japan’s Rim Nakamura, who was the overall winner of the 2019 World Cup, is another potential medallist and, being on his home turf, his performance is highly anticipated by the local crowd.

In the women’s event, Hannah Roberts from the USA is the favourite for the gold medal after the teenager took the park title in the 2021 BMX freestyle world championships. She is also the first women to land a 360 tailwhip in competition. Nikita Ducarroz from Switzerland and Charlotte Worthington from Great Britain are also medal hopefuls for their respective countries.

BMX Freestyle will take place at Ariake Urban Sports Park alongside BMX racing and skateboarding. The venue will provide a festival-like experience and atmosphere to visitors attending the Games.