Unless you’re on it like wasabi on sushi, the ins and outs of UCI BMX Supercross qualifying criteria for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo can be a little confusing. Thanks to the learned analysis of #NewsTeam member, Carl Lein, we are able to break it down to you in a way that makes sense.
Nation Rankings determine how many riders a given nation can send to the games, based on the the top three highest point earners (Elite and Junior), whether on a recognized “national team,” or not. An equal number of athlete slots are available between men and women (24 each).
This is the first time such has been the case; in previous Olympic cycles, the men had 32 and the women 16. Obviously, the more riders a nation can send, the greater their chances at the coveted Gold, Silver and Bronze medals, and even a podium sweep, if all the stars align just-right.
Within Nation Rankings, there are tiers as to how many nations can send three, two or one rider based on those rankings. There are also considerations OTHER than nation rankings which permit additional selection spots–such as Individual/Athlete Rankings, 2020 world championship results (explained below) and the host nation gets one rider in each gender class, if needed.
1-2 place in points qualify three riders
3-5 place in points qualify two riders
6-11 place in points qualify one rider
Total: 18 riders
Individual Rankings are intended for nations that don’t have large teams to run up the score on Nation points, but still allow riders of distinction from three nations per gender to qualify their nation for one Olympic slot each. The top-three ranking nations who have not qualified riders in the Nation rankings will qualify one rider each (separate rankings per gender).
Total: 3 riders
In similar fashion, the TWO highest ranked nations in the Elite results at the 2020 UCI BMX World Championships that have not otherwise qualified will earn one spot each.
Total: 2 riders
Ironically, the latter two categories, where the ATHLETE is solely responsible for earning their nation a spot is completely separate from that rider’s National Federation qualification process. So, just because s/he was the one who earned the spot, it is possible for them to not go to the games (though not likely).
Finally, if the HOST COUNTRY has not qualified a least one rider in one of the above criteria, they will receive one qualification slot (per gender class).
Total: 1 rider
GRAND TOTAL: 24 riders per gender class
In the event the host country or any other allocation slots remain available, they go back to the rankings, and the slot(s) available go to the highest-ranking nation(s) that had yet to qualify a rider, until all available slots have been allocated.
Qualification points end Jun 2, 2020, and it will take a few more weeks to sort out all the if/then’s. June 30 is the final allocation date. July 6 is the entry deadline, and July 30 is when the BMX Racing events blast-off.
BMX News will publish another article next week on the USA-specific criteria.
The current rankings for Individual (Athlete) and Nations can be found at the link below.
If you’d like to geek-out on all the granular details, the PDF of UCI BMX Racing qualification criteria is linked below.
Carl Lein contributed to this article.