BMX Australia Pulls Plug on Training Ctr
You don’t usually hear about the tracks that DON’T get built. With the hot-hype of announcement day gone, they sort-of just limp away into the mist of history, never to be seen or heard from again.
Late last week, however, BMX Australia announced that a long-planned, multimillion dollar facility in Reedy Creek Gold Coast, Queensland will be shelved.
“Shelved” may not mean canceled, exctly, but it sounds about as likely as your boyhood dog coming back from the farm he went to when you were seven.
An article in the Gold Coast Bulletin said:
BMX Australia this morning announced they would no longer go ahead with the “BMX Centre of Excellence” which was set to be a training facility for the nation’s top BMX athletes.
The Gold Coast City Council had jumped on board, providing $1 million from surplus funds from last year’s project to help the project along.
The track was to be a training ground for future Olympians and use the Reedy Creek land previously used as a motocross track which closed in 2012.
BMX Australia CEO Martin Shaw said it was decided to build the Gold Coast track was no longer in the best interest of the sport.
“We have a new board that is setting a different direction for the sport and the significant financial contributions involved in a development of this nature, both initially and ongoing, were not deemed to be the best use of our limited financial resources,” he said. Wow, that’s a mackerel-slap of cold truth being told.
Mr Shaw said there was also a limit to the number of world standard tracks required in Australia.
There are four international standard tracks in Australia, including the Sleeman Sports Complex track in Chandler, Brisbane.
Now, if you just skimmed-over that blockquote, the one part that you need to read, and re-read is “We have a new board that is setting a different direction for the sport.” They are re-aligning the direction of the sport in Aus. Which is interesting, because similar talk is happening in certain circles here in the US.
The release didn’t go into exactly what “setting a different direction for the sport” means. But it sounds like the trend may be changing from gold and glory once every four years, to smiles for miles every day.
Of course, it isn’t necessarily a ding-alarm signaling the demise of BMX Supercross in Oz; Mr. Shaw said it himself, they have four “international standard” tracks in Australia. How many are necessary?
This was the scene just five months ago, as the facility was announced on September 1, 2016
— Nine News Gold Coast (@9NewsGoldCoast) September 1, 2016
Recently, New Zealand announced they were cutting their High Performance BMX program, requiring athletes to apply for support on a race by race basis. Matt Cameron announced his retirement, and Sarah Walker, though still keeping her 20” built up, is on to winning track bike titles now.
We always see post-Olympics review of the scales. How do the funds invested balance out against the results and goals each individual governing body has. And where do riders find the tipping point that keeps them fighting in the oxygen-starved environment of BMX Racing, versus pedaling into the great beyond.