How Will BMX In The Olympics Affect Us?

Ride BMX has always focused on covering freestyle and that’s not going to change just because BMX racing is in the Olympics this year in Beijing. It’s not that any of us here dislike racing, it’s just not what our publication is about. However, we do realize that having BMX racing in the Olympics is a huge deal and we are extremely psyched on it. We asked a handful of industry heads what they think about BMX being in the Olympics and how it will affect the freestyle side of the sport. Here’s what they had to say…

“It can't hurt, exposure is exposure whether it is racing or freestyle. Will it get a kid away from his video game and out on a bike? That is the big question… I do think if BMX gets good coverage and USA does well, it will drive people to look into it. I think the local track has the best shot to see a spike, but this could sprinkle down to skateparks, trails, sidewalk jumping, etc. If you would have asked me a month ago I would not think it would have impacted much. After hearing all the talk from my neighbors, co-workers, kids and parents and my kids’ school, etc., I am amazed at the Olympic hype. The last few days you can't go anywhere without hearing someone talking about something they watched on the Olympics. Shout out to Bob Tedesco for pushing the last 10 years to get BMX in—he deserves a pat on the back for chasing the dream.”
– Alan Foster, Felt

Allan FosterAlan Foster in the Schwinn/Airwalk days of his racing career. Photo by Brad McDonald.

“I love that BMX racing will be in the Olympics and I think it's going to have a hugely positive affect on the freestyle side of the sport. I'm having a party at my house on race day and all my friends are coming over to watch. Go Mike Day, and Go Scott Erwood!
If you ask me, I think you guys should have sent someone over to China to cover the race. I also think you guys should cover BMX racing in the magazine again. BMX racing rules again. ”
– Jay Miron, MacNeil

"Racing always has a positive effect on BMX as a whole. First of all, kids can start racing when they are four years old and the bikes allow them to really ride as opposed to freestyle bikes which are always too heavy to throw around, even when they have 12″ or 16″ wheels. So more kids get into BMX because of racing. And they make really good all around riders because they have a different set of bike skills than kids that don't race. (i.e. Mike Aitken, Van Homan, Brian Foster, Matt Beringer, Josh Stricker, etc.) The Olympics will probably get a lot more kids interested in riding, especially because the track is really good and it looks so fun to ride. Riders ready watch the lights!"
– Chris Moeller, S&M

“I rode PUSH with Kyle Bennett and John Purse before Kyle hit puberty, and hung out with him again this year at NORA cup in Vegas as a grown ass man. If that dude wins an Olympic Gold Medal, I’ll laugh my ass off. Stoked.
Any move forward for any aspect of BMX helps out the industry as a whole. Hopefully the Magnitude of these steps forward will bring more BMX tracks into communities, and in turn raise more awareness for parks, and municipal funding for events that are, and may eventually be in the Olympics. More opportunities for youngsters to get started in BMX pacing, or riding parks is a pretty big deal.”
– Steve Crandall, FBM

“I think any mainstream coverage helps bring awareness to BMX. I came up through racing so I would love to think that a younger rider could start out racing and then move to freestyle as many of us have. Maybe the Olympics could spark this…then again the Olympics did not do much for sports like curling, so who knows!”
– Robbie Morales, Fit

Robbie MoralesRobbie Morales getting flat in full race gear. Photo by Brad McDonald.

“Racing in the Olympics is awesome and can only benefit our sport as a whole. We probably won’t feel the affects or recognition right away, but this will open some eyes and some doors. Racing has been a bit dormant for a while and this is a good wake up call. Freestyle does its own thing, but what it comes down to is we all ride little bikes. I can only hope that more bike shops will start to carry more parts, more clothing stores start to support rider owned companies, and it grows out of control. Racing isn’t my favorite part of biking, but I will be watching for sure. Down hill racing is where it’s at…hail Mary jumps…hell ya.
It does help that we (UGP) have a rider competing for the USA, go Kyle Bennett go! Faster, faster, faster…”
– Chad DeGroot, UGP

“I think racing fits well with the format for the Olympics. I can only see this being a good thing for racing.
Now as for Freestyle, I am not sure how they would fit the subjective nature of freestyle in the Olympic format or if it really makes sense for freestyle to be in the Olympics.
But even if freestyle does make it to the Olympics it really doesn’t bother me as long as it doesn't become gymnastics on wheels, which it's already getting pretty close, ha ha.”
– Ron Bonner, The Shadow Conspiracy

“I think racing in the Olympics can only help our “sport.” It exposes BMX to a much broader audience. Even though it isn’t freestyle, it’s still BMX. Freestyle is a natural progression from racing. I hate sounding old, but when I was a kid, we didn’t really have skateparks. We rode trails and crappy wooden ramps all week, then raced on the weekends.”
– Brian Osborne, Beloe

“I think racing in the Olympics will be good for the freestyle end of BMX as well as racing. It’s all promoting 20-inch bikes. I grew up doing both, and they actually go hand in hand. After a while of racing I realized that my favorite parts of it were hitting jumps and speed. I just got sick of sitting in staging and getting beat by shitty riders who spent their time in the gym. So hitting ramps, trails, street started to make more sense to me. To each his own though…opinions are like assholes, we all have one.”
– Jimmy Le Van

Jimmy Le VanJimmy Le Van may not be racing in this photo, but he is definitely wearing a full uniform and helmet. Photo by Brad McDonald.

“No disrespect to racing or the Olympics, but BMX freestyle’s aspirations have never directly been to be in the Olympics. It is a great platform to celebrate sport in a way that unites the world, but we created BMX freestyle to do our own thing, express our own definition of sport, and to have the freedom to express this how we pleased; not to have our opinions sanctioned by a higher power. As a sport we are very happy with where we are at and the freedom we have. We see the Olympics as an opportunity to share this with the world, not change.”
– Mat Hoffman, Hoffman Bike

“I’m stoked to see any style of BMX put in front of the masses. It’s a great opportunity for the guys in the racing end of our sport to take things to a higher level. The only way it will probably affect those of us that ride “freestyle” will be in the amount of time we will have to explain to all our family and friends that don’t ride BMX that it’s not what “we do” when they see it on TV.”
– Flip, Albe’s

“I only have Cross Country MTB’ing to base my answer from. Before its Olympic debut, XC racing was on a high and had a bunch of sponsors coming in to support the athletes and industry, only to have the bike sponsors be all but shut out of the equation in terms of exposure. We weren’t allowed to have any signage on the athletes except for a designated spot on the down tube of the frame…sound familiar?
In the USA, the Olympic cycling history says that once the event is over and the buzz has worn off, it will be back to normal. I’ve heard Shimano is pulling out their support once the Olympics are over and others may follow. Speaking on behalf of Haro Bikes, we embrace and are proud of the fact that BMX is in the Olympics, but we don’t anticipate significant growth in BMX bike sales because of it.”
– Tony Degollado, Haro Bikes