BMX Commission Director: Margot Gerber
Bicycle moto cross (BMX) started in the late 1960s in California, around the time that motocross became a popular sport in the USA. The motorized version of the sport was the inspiration for the human powered competition. Children and teenagers with the desire but not the means to participate in motocross sated their appetite by racing bicycles on self-built tracks. These young adventurers completed the imitation by dressing themselves up in motocross gear. The sport was given the name 'bmx' and the conception was complete.
BMX racing offered exciting action at a low cost, close to home. It is easy to see why the sport was an instant hit. In California the sport was more popular than anywhere else. During the early 1970s a sanctioning body for BMX was founded in the U.S.A. This is considered as the official start of BMX racing. As that decade progressed, the sport was introduced on other continents too, among them Europe in 1978.
In April 1981, the International BMX Federation was founded, and the first world championships were held in 1982. BMX rapidly developed as a unique sporting entity, and after several years clearly had more in common with cycling than motorcycling codes. Thus, since January 1993 BMX has been fully integrated into the Union Cycliste Internationale.
BMX SUPERCROSS (part of the Olympic programme)
The BMX Supercross is raced on a 350m circuit. Eight riders launch themselves from an eight-metre high ramp and race over a track alternating bumps, banked corners and flat sections. The battle for first place is fierce, as it is necessary to finish in the first four of the heats to have a place in the next round and then in the final. Depending on the lay-out of the section, the riders try either to land quickly in order to gain speed, or to gain height (riders reach up to nearly five metres high).
Freestyle is a question of executing figures and jumps. It can be carried out on the flat, on obstacles or on a ramp. Initiated freestylers meet between themselves or during contests, of which the most well-known is the X-Games. Riders are judged on their figures (difficulty, originality and style).
SPECIALITIES OF BMX FREESTYLE
It is a question of producing a sequence of figures on different obstacles (inclined surfaces,walls, platforms etc). It takes place in skate parks.
VERT (abbreviation of vertical)
This consists of performing figures on a U-shaped ramp that is four metres high. The sides of the ramp are vertical at the top. The best riders jump up to 4.5m higher than the ramp. The vert is a very demanding speciality, requiring years of practise.
Here the rider produces a series of figures exclusively on flat ground, often balancing on one wheel. This artistic speciality can be compared with hip hop or break dancing.
As its name indicates, this takes place on the street. Riders use urban props (walls and railings etc) to carry out their figures. The principle of street is to get the two wheels off the ground without the help of a springboard or ramp.
Riders perform figures on mounds of earth. With several metres separating the mounds where they take off and land, the jumps are extremely spectacular. Riders are judged on the successful execution of several figures during the jumps, coupled with their degree of difficulty.
* All information as per the UCI website: http://www.uci.ch/bmx/about/