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BMX Freestyle Park Added to 2020 Olympics

June 13, 2017 by · Comments Off 

bmx-freestyle-park
Over the past four years, BMX News has been watching BMX Freestyle jump from square to square on the Olympic Candidate gameboard, enroute to becoming an officially-recognized medal sport for Tokyo 2020.

Our latest check-in on the progress was a little over a year ago, on May 17, 2016 Read more

BMX Australia Pulls Plug on Training Ctr

February 21, 2017 by · Comments Off 

BMX Australia Pulls Plug on Reedy Creek

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


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.

Links

Article in the Gold Coast Bulletin

New Zealand cuts High Performance program for BMX





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The Olympics Are Over. Now What?

August 22, 2016 by · Comments Off 

Rio Olympics are Over. Now What?
Last week was one of the most exciting times in the history of our sport. I’m speaking as an American, but as a BMXican as well. Mainstream media around the world has its eyes on Olympic BMX in a way it hasn’t since the sport’s debut in Beijing. That is especially true in the US, where the spotlight has not been as bright since the 2008, when Mike, Donny and Jill brought their treasure back to Chula Vista.

I want to pause here and give my personal congratulations to the full-five of our Olympic Team for an incredible showing in Rio. Everyone rode to the top of their ability, and there are about 312 Million people who owe you a high five. And, specifically, to Alise Post for her Silver, and Connor Fields for a truly-Gold-medal performance!

Alise Post and Connor Fields

In the BMX community, a great deal of our collective focus the past two weeks (at least) has been on the run-up to the Games. Here at the BMX News Global Command Center, it was a massively-energizing time.

Now that the Games are over, we will enjoy a few days of post-Olympic glow as the follow-up stories and news segments are published–and we SHOULD enjoy it.

That leads us to the “Now What?” aspect of this article. What’s next, as the 2016 Olympics fade into the rearview, and we get back to operations at normal cruising altitude? How ’bout we take it up a few levels from “normal” altitude. Here are five things we, as a community, can do in the immediate scope to focus that Olympic glow and shine it on local BMX Racing in the USA.

1).Now’s the time to bring your non-BMX friends, family and neighbors into the fold! Tell them, one-on-one, in the livingroom, about your family’s experience in BMX Racing, and why it’s a great thing for their family to get involved with . Then, you need to not-only invite them out to your local track, but say “Can we pick you and Jimmy/Janie up at 9AM next Saturday for a day at the track?” Take a PERSONAL stake in building your local program. Now’s the time!

2).Track Operators: SIEZE THE MOMENT! With the draw of US Olympic Gold in your pocket, put up a full-on effort to bring the media out to the track, and show them how “classic” BMX Racing works–the kind that all of our Olympians started with. This is especially-important, since anyone who saw the coverage may not understand that BMX Supercross is not the kind of BMX their kids will be doing at your track. And for the ones who didn’t see it, to understand how our sport works.

3).School is in…time to rally your class! This is a “golden” opportunity to allow you to talk about BMX Racing at school. Bring your bike, bring some trophies and tell the story of why BMX Racing is so important in your life. Be ready with a flyer on the whereabouts of your local track. Better yet: start an “interest list” and sign up classmates with their phone numbers or email addresses (with teacher and parental permission, of course). This will allow someone to follow-up and organize a group outing to the track.

4).Parents: Talk it up! As parents get back to work this week, tell your work colleagues with BMX-age kids about the success we had last week, and about the sport.

5). Internet BMXers: You know who you are! Time for y’all to redirect your focus from down-talking every-little thing you dislike and want to change about BMX in the modern era. Call a two-week-time-out on the sniping and get-busy with some POSITIVE posts on how BMX changed your lives for the better over the years—full stop—without any “buts” about it. You can go back to your traditionally-acidic fare after September 5!

Let’s not allow this big opportunity to evangelize our sport to pass us by. Use this moment in time to reboot your stoke for BMX Racing, and get talkin!

—Mike Carruth





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BMX Gold for Pajon and Fields!!

August 20, 2016 by · Comments Off 

Connor Fields and Mariana Pajon Win BMX Gold in Rio

Since BMX racing’s Olympic debut in 2008, riders around the world have been dreaming of competing at the pinnacle of the sport. Few riders have had the chance to make this dream a reality, and even fewer have had the fairy-tale ending on the medal stand.

Today there were six more medals up for grabs, and a chance for any of the 32 men and women in the program to notch their name into the BMX history books for eternity. The stands were full. The stage was set, and now its up to the riders to perform and the magic to happen.

Yes, we kind of gave it away with the above headline and photo, but unless you have been runnin deep cover, or on the International Space Station (actually, they have Internet, so just deep cover), you know that the 2016 Olympic BMX Medalists have been decided.

But just like any great movie, the final punchline is one thing…the “how it all came together” flashback is where the real “story” is. So, settle in…it’s about to get good.

Elite Women Semifinals
Recap By Bryce Betts

Run One

Group 1
ew-semi-1.1The nerves were high, and the stakes were higher as the women loaded into the gate for their first of three Semifinal rounds. As the camera panned past the riders, and neared lane 1 the crowd continued to get louder. Once they introduced Mariana Pajon the crowd erupted, likely giving some additional nerves to the riders. It didn’t faze the veterans however, as Pajon rocketed out of the gate and jumped the first straight so much lower than Hernandez and Post. After Pajon jumped into the first turn, the race was over, as Mariana was bike lengths ahead. Christensen followed Post around the track til the last turn, where Hernandez made a great move pushing her up, and also allowing Alise Post to follow past the Denmark rider.

Group 2
ew-semi-1.2The gate dropped and it seemed like Crain had the snap, but it was Caroline who held onto it thanks to an inside lane pick. Crain and Buchanan were the only two to jump the triple into the first turn, and Crain took some nice pedals down the backside but it wasn’t enough to get ahead of Buchanan. Brooke was trying everything to get around Caroline, but while trailing Caroline’s back wheel she lost sight of blocking the defending Bronze medalist and Smulders managed to push Brooke up in the last turn and slot her back to third.

Run Two

Group 1
ew-semi-2.1After the first round of motos the riders were finding their position in the semi, but many didn’t want to settle if they were outside of the top 4. In the second round Alise Post had a much better first straight, and had a slight edge on Mariana. Pajon’s inside position allowed her to stay in front, but Alise continued to apply the pressure, all the way to the finish. The real battle was for third and on however, as the racing was as tight as possible. Hernandez was in third, and slid out on the green paint crashing into 4th place Christensen, with only Manon Valentino (a close fifth into last turn) dodging and finishing third, and Gaby Diaz going from last to fourth while Carr and van Benthem were tangled up with the downed riders. If the Olympics has proven one thing in the past eight years, it is supreme unpredictability! This was just another example of that.

Group 2
ew-semi-2.2.1Moto two was down the ramp and once again the American rider got a better gate. Brooke Crain missed the triple into the first turn, but still got ahead of Buchanan, causing Caroline to back off into the first turn. This made room for Smulders and Bondarenko, to slot into the two and three slots. The top four seemed to stay consistent the whole lap, but Smulders made a last straight move past Brooke Crain yet again to edge her out and take the win. Unfortunately for the Brazilian rider, Carnaval, she crashed with Reynolds and is having a similar games to Rezende.

Run Three

Group 1
ew-semi-3.1The points are settled for the top seeds, but it is still important to get lane pick. Just thirty minutes after last moto, the women loaded up for their last shot to get into the final. Mariana and Alise were a dead heat into the first and second turns. Alise got pushed wide though, and Hernandez ended up making a move down the third straight giving her second place and AP11 the third. For every bummed rider in the semis, there is a happy rider however. France’s only rider left in the semi finals, Valentino made it on to the final much to the delight of her very BMX-proud country.

Group 2
The first half of the main was set, with Pajon, Post, Hernandez, and Valentino. We were one gate start and 34.67 seconds away from filling the rest of the gate. Smulders had a great gate, and Crain followed close. Belgian VanHoof finished third, The big surprise was Caroline Buchanan, who ended up coming up way short on the first two jumps, which appeared to move her bars way forward in Chicago style.

ew-semi-3.2She then went on to crash into Bondarenko’s back wheel in the first turn. It was up to watching how Bondarenko finished to see if Caroline’s dreams would end. Unfortunately for Caroline, Bondarenko finished fifth, making it a tie in points which, with the better finish, would allow the youngest rider in the Games to advance into the final.

It can’t be overstated how big a deal this was. Caroline was on the top of many picks, even above Mariana, in some cases–and now she was out. Naturally, she was heartbroken and the tears were hard to watch.

Elite Women Final

Before we could process what happened in the semis, the main event was already loading up in the gate. There was a lot of heat on the inside, with Pajon in one, Smulders in two, Crain in three, and Post in four. And just-like-that four years of waiting, training and visualizing the Olympic final was down to the starter’s command and a cadence.

ew-final-2Smulders seemed to have the snap, but Alise was up there as well. Brooke Crain didn’t get the starts she was having all day, and the French rider of Valentino did a front flip into the first turn similar to Nic Long’s in practice.

ew-final-3It was all Pajon out of turn one. Mariana was chased down by a hungry Alise Post, followed by Hernandez and defending bronze medalist Laura Smulders. Smulders had been making moves at the end of the track all day so we were looking for her to make something happen. Hernandez made a slight mistake in the third straight, and the Dutch rider was catching-up quick. Unfortunately, Smulders went down in the last turn, ending her quest for a second medal. Brooke Crain rode by for the gut-wrenching fourth place, ahead of Russia’s Bondarenko, but behind Hernandez.

The stands seemed to be nearly 50% Colombian, and as you can imagine the crowd was erupting all the way until the medal ceremony. Mariana is now etched into BMX history along side Maris as the only BMXers who have earned two (gold) medals at the Olympic Games.

The Silver medal for Alise also marks the best BMX result by a U.S. woman in the Olympics, and was America’s 4th medal in history. Alise and Mariana have been swapping 1-2 positions since before they were pro, and the NewsTeam feels like their dominance on the world stage won’t stop any time soon.

BMX News 2016 race coverage sponsored by Dan’s Comp
BMX News Race Coverage is Sponsored by Dan's Comp

Elite Men Semifinals
Recap By Mike Carruth

Run One

Group 1
mens-semi-1.1In the gate for the first semi, we had (from the outside in heat 1): Luis Brethauer (GER), David Graf (SUI), Jelle van Gorkom (NED), Carlos Ramirez (COL), Carlos Oquendo (COL), Corben Sharrah (USA), Nic Long (USA) and Anthony Dean (AUS).

Down the hill, and down the first straight in an instant, van Gorkom had the lead for a moment, with Graf on the way outside, and Dean a pedal or two off the pace. Into turn one, Dean dropped in off the triple, and took the lead with van Gorkom and Long in trail. Down the second straight, the Colombian, Ramirez came through the left and took up third. Out of turn two, Oquendo edged up into the fourth spot…and that’s how it would finish. Dean, van Gorkom, Ramirez and Oquendo.

Group 2
Lining up for the second semi group: Trent Jones (NZL), Niek Kimmann (NED), Jefferson Milano (VEN), Tory Nyhaug (CAN), Connor Fields (USA), Gonzalo Molina (ARG), Twan van Gendt (NED), Sam Willoughby (AUS).

mens-semi-1.2Molina had a terrible start, and almost lost it down the ramp. Connor and Sam were fork to fork the whole way down the first straight, but Sam took the lead into turn one, and down the second straight. van Gendt came out of the turn in second, but Connor made up the ground by the time the pack reached turn two. Connor nosed into the lead for a split second in the early part of the third straight, but Sam held the lead all the way home, with Connor in second, then Jones and Kimmann. Milano crashed in the last turn, but was up pretty quick.

Run Two

Group 1
mens-semi-2.1Second verse, same as the first: Dean hit turn one first. (Not to self: lobby HARD for scrambling Olympic Qtrs and Semis next time). This time it was Corben who would take up second place and Ramirez into turn two. The group got around clean, and at the stripe it was Dean, Sharrah, Ramirez and Oquendo (who came back from sixth in the second turn to finish fourth).

Group 2
mens-semi-2.2Willoughby and Fields were well-away into the first turn, with Nyhaug in the hunt. Trent Jones had a moment of trouble, as it looked like he almost lost control of the front end on the exit of turn one. Molina took up third into to turn two, and the Dutchies were behind him. Jones and Milano crashed in turn two. At the stripe it was Willoughby, Fields, Nyhaug and Molina.

Jones got a flat on the landing into the turn. The on-air commentator on the NBC stream was into micro-analysis of the tire pressure, having said both days that the riders are riding 90PSI here, but on dirt they ride 60PSI. That was good times for the Twitterverse.

Run Three (10:45)

Group 1
mens-semi-3.1As the third and final run was climbing the hill, you have to know that five or six of these guys were turning the math wheels pretty hard. Dean didn’t have much addition to do, with a 1-1, but van Gorkom (8pts) and Long (10pts) both needed a “simple addition” solution for round three. A +1 would be ideal, but a +2 or +3 might get it done too.

On the entry into turn one, Nic bonked the third peak on the triple pretty hard, but still came down the mountain in second to Dean. Oquendo wrecked in the latter part of the turn, taking graf with him. Into turn two it was Dean, Long and van Gorkom with a close fourth place battle between Brethauer and Sharrah. Corben put a lock on fourth place down the third straight, and Ramirez spun into the ground in the last turn making the final four all-but assured this lap. It ended up thus: Dean, Long, van Gorkom and Sharrah.

Main Event Qualifiers From Group One:
Anthony Dean, Jelle van Gorkom, Carlos Ramirez and Nic Long.

Nic and Corben tied on points–at 12 apiece– but Nic’s better finish in round three gave him the main event qual spot. The difference between Anthony Dean’s 3 points and Jelle van Gorkom’s second place qualifying points: 11 was a stark reminder of both how dominant Dean was both days of the Games, and how competitive it was down the roster.

Group 2
mens-semi-2.2Final gate drop before it is for all the medals. As in previous trips, Willoughby was in charge into turn one, and this time it was van Gendt on the outside and Nyhaug nosing in to the inside. Fields did not have a very good trip over the triple, pumping it instead of boosting it as he had before. The Con-man fell back to sixth out of turn one, after Kimmann and Molina slipped in on the inside.

Into turn two, and all the way home, it was Willoughby, Kimmann, Nyhaug and van Gendt. Then Molina and Fields.

Main Event Qualifiers From Group Two:
Sam Willoughby, Connor Fields, Niek Kimmann, and Tory Nyhaug

Elite Men Final

Mariana’s repeat Gold was still sending waves of joy through the mostly-Colombian crowd as the Men climbed the Rio hill for the last time. The one where it all counts.

From the outside, the 2016 Olympic BMX main event was: Niek Kimmann, Carlos Ramirez, Connor Fields, Tory Nyhaug, Jelle van Gorkom, Nic Long, Anthony Dean and Sam Willoughby.

mens-final-1Over the first jump, Connor had a slight wheel lead on Sam, but Nic got a couple solid cranks in, and by the entry to turn one, it was Nic and Connor. In the apex of turn one, it was Long, Fields and Willoughby.

mens-final-2The two Americans stayed closer than hot dogs and mustard into the third straight, when Connor began to surge. Every backside gave him a little more margin, and 3/4 the way to turn three, he had a solid lead. Long was under pressure in the middle from Ramirez on his right and van Gorkom on his left. Jelle rode the extreme inside and pushed Nic high enough on the turn that it left the door open for Ramirez to get himself in there too.

Down the last straight it was Fields all the way, followed by van Gorkom and a fierce battle for the final medal, between Long and Ramirez. For us, here in the BMX News Global Command Center, it was like that moment in Rocky IV, when Rocky was chopping down Drago with body blow after body blow. Adrian screams “You’re gonna do it!” That was the mood here as Connor made it the last few rollers, and past the finish line. Popcorn flew, and it was an awesome moment for all of us (oh yeah, for him too, we’re sure).

16rio-men-photo-finishIn the seconds after Nic and Carlos crossed the line, it was thought that they tied in a dead-heat and would both receive a medal. Not sure how long it took to officially make the decision, but within a couple minutes, they showed the official Omega time “photo finish”, on the live stream, and it was clear that Carlos had edged Nic out by an inch or two. We were bummed for Nic; he rode a helluva race. One of the papers back in Colombia posted a cool infographic telling the tale of Carlos’ main event lap (link will open in a new window)

The focus was now on Connor Fields, and watching him celebrate at the finish line, with the American Flag draped around him, and hugs and high-fives all-around.

We were SO anxious to see the medal ceremony, with the American Flag hoisted to the highest, and “The Star Spangled Banner” played. But, the NBC live stream cut the feed just at the end of the women’s ceremony, so we never got to see Connor get his medal. But we sure know he got it!

—Mike Carruth

Final Results

Elite Women
Mariana Pajon (COL) – 34.093
Alise Post (USA) – 34.435
Stefany Hernandez (VEN) – 34.755
Brooke Crain (USA)
Yaroslava Bondarenko (RUS)
Elke VanHoof (BEL)
Laura Smulders (NED)
Manon Valentino (FRA)

Elite Men
Connor Fields (USA) – 34.642
Jelle van Gorkom (NED) – 35.316
Carlos Ramirez (COL) – 35.517
Nic Long (USA) – 35.522
Tory Nyhaug (CAN)
Sam Willoughby (AUS)
Niek Kimmann (NED)
Anthony Dean (AUS)





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Recap: Rio BMX Mens Quarterfinals

August 19, 2016 by · Comments Off 

Men's BMX Quarterfinals at Rio 2016

Day two of Olympic BMX in Rio brought the first group racing to the Olympic BMX Centre in the Deodoro Olympic Park. Wildfires in the hills surrounding the venue threatened to evacuate participants and staff earlier in the week. Today, that heat was full-blast on the track.

Four gates of eight would run three rounds to determine which half of them would advance to the semifinals on Friday, and which half would be watching it from the other side of the fence.

Parts of it made for a fairly “ugly” race–and we see the same sentiment posted around social media (along with all-manner of jabs and chides pointed in various directions). It was a bangin’ day for those who will move on, of course, but overall, it was an inelegant day of BMX racing, which caused some to say “maybe it was a blessing NBC dropped the show.”

We knew that 16 riders would have to take a seat, but never thought the unfortunate 16 would include who it ultimately included. Anything can happen at any time at this level, and today’s happenings of who made it and who didn’t is definitely causing some re-racking of medal predictions.

In Olympic competition, the motos are not scrambled, so each group would be the same riders each of the three rounds, with the four low points riders going to Friday’s Semifinals.

FIRST GROUP
The first rack had Edzus Treimanis, Trent Jones, Jelle van Gorkom, Nic Long, Niek Kimmann, Joris Daudet, Niklas Laustens and Renato Rezende.

First round went off clean, with Joris leading to turn two, but Jelle coming inside after the berm jump landing and rocked it on home. Trent Jones had a good lap first time out as well. Final order was van Gorkom, Daudet, Jones and Kimmann.

Niek Kimmann held back from loading into the gate for second round. Joris had gate 2, with van Gorkom on the inside.

Long had a terrible start, and was last down the hill, but quickly made up the real estate down the first straight. Daudet was leading it solidly into, then out of, turn one.

Joris Quarterfinal WreckDown the second straight, Joris seemed to have some trouble on the second set, and shut it down, pulling sharply to the right (as if to head off the track)–directly in the path of a full-charge Kimmann. Joris rolled up the launch of the berm jump and went OTB. Niek swerved to avoid hitting Joris, and hit the launch of the berm jump sideways, sending him and his bike over the gap sideways, and into the frontside of the landing sideways, and snapping off his forks.

Meanwhile, Jelle van Gorkom and Trent Jones were far enough outside leading in to this melee to avoid it entirely, and the two went on to finish 1-2. Treimanis and Long were 3-4.

Niek Kimmann Walks Bike into Finish Line After slamming at 30MPH or more into what was essentially a concrete wall, Niek Kimmann had his wits about him, and finished the lap by walking his bike from turn two to the finish line (his finish had to be manually recorded; his transponder was still in turn two, with his front wheel). This action likely saved his chances of moving on.

Third round, we were frankly shocked to see all eight riders show up. Daudet was there–out on gate 8, Kimmann got his bike situation sorted out, and we were about to see how the first group of semifinalists would be set.

Down the hill, Joris pulled it up right away, and coasted down as the rest of the pack raced for turn one. Into the turn, it was Long in command this time, who held the lead all the way home. Jones, Kimmann and van Gorkom would round out the top four, after Rezende wrecked going into turn three while battling for third.

QUALIFIERS FROM GROUP ONE: van Gorkom, Jones, Long and Kimmann

Shocker #1: The reigning World Champion and USA BMX #1 Pro was out of the program and would not compete for a medal.

SECOND GROUP

In the gate for the second moto was: Toni Syarifudin, Kyle Dodd, Maris Strombergs, Jefferson Milano, Tory Nyhaug, Liam Phillips, Luis Brethauer and David Graf.

Liam Phillips, David Graf and Tory Nuyhaug in Mens QuarterfinalsFirst round, Graf and Phillips were tight down the first straight, and into the first turn, where they drifted wide, with Graf trying to push Liam up a bit. Exiting the turn, Nyhaug caught up with Graf and Phillips and edged both of them right, though staying on a straight trajectory toward the second turn. Momentum did the rest, and Graf and Phillips wrecked in spectacular fashion, balling up Strombergs and Syarifudin as well. The finish was: Nyhaug, Brethauer, Milano and Dodd.

The track surface in Rio is built about 10 feet above grade, so when Phillips, and Graf went careening off the track, they had a pretty gnarly ride the rest of the way down. Add Maris to that list as well, who eventually rode off the track under his own power, shaking his head.

When they lined up for second round, Liam Phillips was not in the gate. British Cycling soon confirmed that Liam was out of the race, saying “Sad to confirm that Liam Phillips has been forced to withdraw from #CyclingBMX at #Rio2016 after that crash.”

Tory Nyhaug in Rio 2016 Men's Quarterfinal
The lap had an uneventful first half, with Tory taking the lead, and a nice early showing by Milano. In turn two, it was Nyhaug, Milano and Brethauer, when Graf passed Dodd, and tried to come up under Brethauer for a much-needed pass into third place. He high-sided off the German, and basically bounced off him, for his second wreck of the two laps. That took Todd down as well. Finish was: Nyhaug, Brethauer, Milano and Strombergs (who coasted in a few seconds back from the top three).

Third round was going to be do or die for Strombergs, Graf or Dodd, who had 13, 10 and 9 points, respectively. Tory was sitting on two points, Brethauer on four and Milano on six. Of course ANYTHING can happen today. There were six in the gate for third round, as Indonesian Toni Syarifudin was a DNS.

The pack was down the first straight with Nyhaug, Milano and Graf in the front three. Out of turn one, Nyhaug had the lead with Graf and now Brethauer sliding into third.

Full pack of BMX Olympians roll the berm jump in RioInto the turn two berm jump, we could hear tires locking up and squealing to slow down. Then THE WHOLE PACK rolled the berm jump. The race basically restarted in turn two, and this time, it was Graf who had the inside. Somehow they all had enough speed to clear the step-up into the third straight, and Graf lead it the rest of the way. Final finish was Graf, Nyhaug, Brethauer and Strombergs.

It was a three-way tie in points for the final qual spot, at 14 points, between Graf, Strombergs and Dodd. Because Graf won third round he would advance, and the 2-time Gold Medalist would be out of the program. That was a HUGE plot twist for the balance of the Games, with Daudet, Phillips and Strombergs all out of the Friday race.

QUALIFIERS FROM GROUP TWO: Nyhaug, Brethauer, Milano and Graf

Shocker #2, #3 and #4: Phillips and Strombergs were out of the semi (double-shock for Maris).

Check the links below for an interview Maris gave to Reuters News Service immediately after the race, criticizing the track.

BMX News 2016 race coverage sponsored by Dan’s Comp
BMX News Race Coverage is Sponsored by Dan's Comp

THIRD GROUP
Not sure what happened in the running order, but on the moto sheet, and NBC results page, it had the group featuring Connor Fields and Corben Sharrah listed as “Heat 4″ (even on the chyron for the lineup on the broadcast), but they ran it third. The following is how it ran, not how it was listed.

The lineup for the third moto was Connor Fields, Corben Sharrah, Yoshitaku Nagasako, Bodi Turner, Anthony Dean, Kyle Evans, Tore Navrestad and Gonzalo Molina.

Connor Fields, Corben Sharrah and Anthony Dean in Mens QuarterfinalsA trio of Connor, Corben and Anthony were out early, and Connor maintained a solid lead with Dean a few bikes behind into turn two. Molina got by Corben there, as the pack raced toward the last turn. A nice clean lap, which finished Fields, Dean, Molina, Sharrah.

Second round, Connor had a bad drop in, and hit the mid point on the first straight in sixth, with Dean and Sharrah in command for the moment, and Molina taking over Connor’s inside line. By turn two, the order was Dean, Molina, Sharrah and Nagasako. Connor passed Nagasako down the last straight, and a few riders in the back of the pack went off-track, but the top four finished clean: Dean, Molina, Sharrah and Fields.

Compared to the previous two groups, this one was good racing, fairly uneventful in terms of drama or embarrassing spectacle. Third trip around would be similar in scope, with Corben and Connor out to an early lead, but Anthony Dean right there on the inside. Molina started from gate 2, but was mid pack at the entry to turn one. Dean;s inside position paid off, and he took up the lead in turn one, leaving Corben and Connor to battle for second/third. Fourth place had its own battle with Molina and Bodi Turner. Turner got past in the second turn, and the order, from that point on was Dean, Sharrah, Fields and Turner.

QUALIFIERS FROM GROUP THREE: Dean, Fields, Sharrah and Molina

Shocker #5: Three group laps can be turned without a wreck.

FOURTH GROUP
By the fourth rack of quarterfinals in the first round, fans, both on-site and around the world knew that it was going to be an “anything can happen” kind of race. In the gate would be: Sam Willoughby, Twan van Gendt, Carlos Oquendo, Carlos Ramirez, Amidou Mir, Jeremy Rencurel, Alfredo Campo and Evgeny Komarov.

Sam Willoughby in the Mens Quarterfinal
Sam was out quick, with Twan close on his right chainstay. Campo went down on the first straight. In the apex of turn one, Willoughby had the lead, with Mir and van Gendt, who took up second at the exit. Just then, Twan’s back wheen became unweighted or broke loose somehow, and sent him into a toptube tango, sliding to the right, and taking Mir down with him. Sam had checked-out by now, and had dos Carlos in pursuit. It finished that way: Willoughby, Ramirez, Oquendo and Rencurel.

As the riders were loading into the gate for the second round, a short technical delay was called. There was a problem with the cleat on Twan van Gendt’s show, and he was given a few minutes to fix it.

Twan van Gendt Shoe RepairHe sprinted down the steps of the hill, to a holding area where teams and support personnel were. They made the necessary adjustments, and Twan sprinted back up the stairs and got back in the gate. Pretty impressive they had it done and dusted in like 90 seconds.

Once that bit of adrenaline was over, we noticed that Alfredo Campo and Amidou MIr were not in the gate, so it was down to six. As in round one, it was close between Sam and Twan, with the Colombians just off the lead-pace at the exit to turn one. Out of the second turn, it was Willoughby, van Gendt, Oquendo and Rencurel got past Ramirez. That’s how it would finish.

Third time out, Sam owned the lap, as in the two other trips. Twan kept focus and mounted an impressive lap, with the Colombians (Oquendo and Ramirez) cruising in for third and fourth.

QUALIFIERS FROM GROUP FOUR: Willoughby, Oquendo, van Gendt and Ramirez

Shocker #6: Sam Willoughby was the only one who went 1-1-1 for a clean sweep of the Quarterfinals. (The shock is not that Sam did it, but that no others did as well).

POST-RACE

In most parts of the country, NBC dropped the BMX event from its coverage, instead showing a documentary film about gymnastics coach, Bela Karolyi instead (at least on our local station). Most people could not find the show, but a few had it.

Maybe it’s unfair to say the racing was “ugly,” because really only about half of it was.
With three top contenders out of the program, others going DNS, and the silly spectacle of a full pack of Olympians rolling the berm jump, it definitely fit the definition, in all its facets.

Looking forward to day three of the BMX Events Friday, with the semifinals, finals and medal ceremonies.

—Mike Carruth

Links

Maris Strombergs Speaks to Reuters

Mens Quarterfinals Replay Stream

FRIDAY (Semis, Mains and Medal Ceremony) – 12:30PM EDT

OLYMPIC RESULTS PAGES

Women’s Olympic BMX Results

Men’s Olympic BMX Results





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Recap: Rio 2016 BMX Seeding Rounds

August 18, 2016 by · Comments Off 

Recap of Rio 2016 BMX Seeding Rounds
After years of preparation—even for the most-seasoned, past Olympians— all the sacrifice, the struggle, the social media hype and heartbreak hanging over their shoulder, ready to pounce, every step of the way, it all comes down to this for the 48 BMXers at the Games of the XXXI Olympiad. Wednesday, the BMX events got underway with time trial seeding rounds to establish gate choice, and how Thursday’s Quarterfinal racks would be populated. All riders in the time trial qualified into their respective next phase (quarterfinals for the men and semis, on Friday, for the women).

It’s no secret that we, here at the BMX News Global Command center are not big fans of time trials. It feels decidedly “un-BMX” to have run after run of single-rider laps. But whatever, that’s next week’s rant.

In the US, today’s event was streamed live on nbcolympics.com, and was also broadcast into the living room on tape delay, 90mins later, via NBC Sports Network. Viewers who watched it on TV were either royally cheated, or the luckiest among us, depending on your opinion of Time Trials; NBC Sports only showed the bottom half of the roster for the women, then the men (with a break for canoeing). So, y’all missed seeing Twan van Gendt’s run, which was one of the highlights, holding the hotseat for 15 riders before Connor Fields (who was the first rider shown in the telecast) unseated him. It gets much more exciting from here.

ELITE WOMEN
Recap by Bryce Betts

First to ride was Nadja Pries, who looked great on the cover of German Playboy this month, but cased it a few times down the first straight in her run. A few riders later, Priscilla Stevaux Carnival got in the gate for Brazil, and although the stands weren’t packed – they were loud for the hometown rider. She ultimately placed 15th overall, but looked smooth on the track and ready for a challenge in tomorrow’s rounds.

It was interesting to see Gaby Diaz, the oldest BMXer at the Games (35) roll out of the gate and not do the first straight. After the lap she continued to point to her wrist, signaling that she was riding through the injury and didn’t want to risk jumping the first straight in time trials–at least that’s the way we read it.

As we got further into the program, the riders were higher ranked, so the times continued to rise. First, Simone Christensen of Denmark dethroned Merle Van Bentham off the hotseat, but Simone was quickly kicked out by by Miss Consistency, herself, Stefany Hernandez.

Lauren Reynolds Rio 2016 Time TrialHernandez lead held through Belgium’s Van Hoof (where the TV audience joined the fun), and Australia’s Lauren Reynolds (above), who was first to send it on the triple into turn one. American sweetheart Brooke Crain had a few mistakes in her run, but looked great down the ramp and through the second straight, enough to put her temporarily into fourth.

London 2012 Olympic Bronze medalist Laura Smulders always seems to do well in time trials. The Dutch rider is super smooth, and never really looks like the fastest rider, but smooth equals fast! This was proven as she surpassed Hernandez by 0.088 seconds, taking the “hot seat”. Team USA’s Alise Post was next, and caught a heavy case into the first turn in the triple, which killed her momentum and put her at 8th for the day.

Caroline wasn’t the first to air-it-out over the triple into the first turn, but she was the first to smoothly land on the backside, and cary a bunch of momentum into the rest of the track. Caroline’s lap was seemingly perfect except for a slight mistake down the second straight, but it was still enough to take the lead by 0.362 of a second with just one rider left.

Mariana Pajon Rio 2016 Time Trial RunThat one rider was the defending Gold Medalist, and World Champion, Mariana Pajon. The Colombian Queen of BMX was fast from the start. Mariana pedaled at the bottom of the hill before the first jump, which was uncommon for the rest of the women – but nearly universal among the men. Maybe the extra pedal was the difference, or maybe Caroline’s mistake down the second straight cost her, but either way Pajon passed Caroline by 0.224/sec.

The stage is now set for women’s semifinals on Friday. After today’s single-lap showings, we have to say that Caroline and Mariana are the standouts. Of course, we all know group racing is a whole different animal. Americans Brooke Crain, and Alise Post both seem to excel in the pack, moreso than TTs, so there is no counting them out, by any means, at this early stage.

BMX News 2016 race coverage sponsored by Dan’s Comp
BMX News Race Coverage and Olympic Countdown is Sponsored by Dan's Comp

ELITE MEN
Recap by Mike Carruth

The order in which all Rio riders would run their time trial was determined by UCI Individual Qualifying points. For the men, Nic Long had the most points, at 1155, and would start last. Nic was followed/preceded by Liam Phillips at 1150, and so on, all the way up the order to Kyle Dodd, who had 185 points and would start first. You may remember that at least 10 points were required to compete in the Olympic Games.

As the first of the men to hit the track for the 2016 Olympic Games, Dodd started it out on a solid foot, well in control of the bike, picking it up and setting it down with relative precision. Kyle’s lap time was 36.454 to start things off, and ended up 26th out of 32.

It was clear that some of the riders were still getting the track wired, as there were a few over-jump-to-front-wheel landings on the first straight, and herky-jerk traverses on the third straight.

I have to say that, at this level, it is a clear certainty that all of the riders here are turning laps that are of the highest caliber. And all 32 deserve props for their level of conditioning and track skills. Unfortunately, we can’t go lap by lap and cover it that way (no thanks necessary), even if we want to scrutinize each lap to the last tire placement. But the truly stand-out laps and the hotseat changes *are* the most important of these all-important laps, so here’s how those break down.

Yoshitaku Nagasako was third in the running order, and turned an impressive lap which was enough to unseat Dodd from the hotseat and net him a 12th place finish–just behind Amidou Mir of France, and ahead of Bodi Turner of Australia.

After Niklas Laustsen from Denmark, Twan van Gendt turned one of those standout laps which was not only enough to boot Nagasako from the hotseat, but enough to hold off the next 14 riders, including Dutch teammate Jelle van Gorkom, Renato Rezende (BRA), Kyle Evans (GBR) and Tory Nyhaug (CAN).

Renato Rezende Fans in RioRezende is always a crowd favorite, having introduced himself to hundreds of thousands of fans via compelling YouTube videos. In his home country, it’s more so, and some fans were wearing Renato face masks during his run (above). The clock did not tell the story of Renato’s lap; he rode the heck out of it.

Down the order another eight laps was Latvian Edzus Treimanis, who gave us the first-and-only wreck of the day. It happened on the first straight, where he seemed to over-clear the first set, and blew out of his pedals, going cleats-up. He logged a DNF for the day.

Just as an observation: none of the national champions were flying their flag sleeve colors in Rio. Not sure if that is an Olympic rule, or just part of the custom of the Games to foster cohesiveness among their other teammates. In addition, neither world champion was running their #1 plate.

A couple more laps, then it was Team USA’s first appearance in Elite Men, with Connor Fields. This was the point at which the NBC Sports telecast joined the program.

Connor Fields Rio Time TrialConnor was off the bike in any major way for two months after a training accident in England back in April. It’s pretty incredible that he went through complex surgery, and brought things back into focus in time to get the Selection Committee nod to round out the team, and shoot a slick video edit for ODI on the comeback.

Microscope analysis of his lap might nitpick a few points for improvement, but to us, the lap was sweet music, even on mute. His characteristic in-air flair was on full display, and all those moves were more than enough to unseat van Gendt, with a time of 34.768, and an eventual fourth place finish on the day.

Riding 22nd in the rundown was The Machine, Maris Strombergs. The only BMX Gold Medalist in history had a lap that we’d grade right-up there, but it was not enough to unseat Connor.

Rio BMX Last Turn Sweet SpotAs we go through the time trial laps, watching the riders hit almost the exact same spot into the last turn (above) gives us a nice point of analysis for the group racing to follow. Though you can see some tire marks inside of this spot, almost-nobody was going that far inside in competition. It will be interesting to see how everyone handles the pack, guarding the inside and keeping their speed for the final straight.

Four more laps down, we had David Graf. David was wide-open in his run, and those horses caused him to over-clear the triple into turn one, past the backside. It didn’t matter much, however, as David hit the stripe .090/sec ahead of connor (34.678) to unseat him from the top spot.

Back in Switzerland, kids from his local track were cheering for him at a watch party. Here was their response to the lap, via Instagram.

A video posted by David Graf (@davidgraf48) on

Sam Willoughby was next in the gate. Sam brought his new Aussie-colors Redline out for a pre-Rio run in South Park a couple weeks back, taking the win on Friday (he didn’t race on Sat). His time trial lap was stoke all-the way, but .036/sec off Graf’s pace–yet still solid enough for a third overall when the final time was in.

Joris Daudet Rio Time TrialFive riders to go, and Joris Daudet was in the gate, ready to put that World Champion pizzaz to the pedals. Wowza! Not only an all-but-perfect lap, but one that topped the charts for the day at 34.617 (.061 faster than David Graf).

Even though the history books were already written, the world didn’t know it yet. We have to give some shouts to the home team (well, OUR home team, anyway).

Corben Sharrah showed a full tank of confidence and skill on the track. We have followed his past eight weeks of training with Coach G, via social media. It was all-the-way awesome, to get a peek behind the curtain on how the real work gets done, leading up to the biggest race of a storied career. Corben, if you remember, was the mens alternate for the London Games, and he took his place in Olympia like a full-patch member. He ended the day in fifth, just behind Connor.

And then we come to the final run of the day, courtesy of Nic Long. His first straight was slammin, with all the perfect put-downs on the backsides. He bonked it a tad-bit on the early part of the second straight, but had smooth runnings for the balance. Nic ended up ninth, a little under a half-second off Joris’ time.

In fact, less that a half a second (.478, to be exact) separated 10th place (Liam Phillips) from Joris Daudet’s winning time. So, you see what we mean when we say that these laps were about as tight as it gets.

Today, we’ll be back in the BMX News Global Command Center for the Men’s Quarterfinals. See the links below for full results from Time Trial day, as well as the moto breakouts for the quarters.

The Dan’s Comp “Countdown to Rio” ticker has long-hit zero, and has now been reset to “Countdown to BMX Medals,” coming Friday afternoon. Keep it here on News for the in-depth coverage of the Quarterfinals, All Semis and the two medal laps, slated to start at 2PM Eastern Time.

The full streamed show is available on nbcolympics.com (link below). It may be USA-only, and require login for your cable provider.

Check the BMX News Links below for more.

—Mike Carruth and Bryce Betts

Links

Breakouts of Elite Men Quaterfinals

NBC Olympics Replay of Seeding Rounds

Women’s Olympic BMX Results

Men’s Olympic BMX Results

THURSDAY (Mens Quarterfinals) Live Stream – 12:30PM EDT





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Major Olympic BMX Update: Listen & Watch Links

August 14, 2016 by · Comments Off 

Major Olympic BMX Update - Aug 15, 2016

As the Dan’s Comp countdown clock to the BMX events at Rio2016 is measured in low-single-digit days, plus a few hours, BMX fans are firming-up their plans to witness the action as it happens, via the NBC live stream in the US, and local outlets around the world.

As a primer to the start of the BMX events on Wednesday, BMX News has compiled a comprehensive list of primer content to help you get some great baseline information on what you will see, as well as links to the NBC streams, results pages and the Master Schedule of BMX events in Rio.

All Links Will Open In a New Window

PODCASTS

DALE HOLMES PRE-OLYMPICS PODCAST
Dale and Dr. Jason Richardson recorded a great preview of the 2016 BMX Olympic events in this hour-long (and a little more) podcast.

RECENT MAINSTREAM MEDIA STORIES

Connor Fields Back From Hand Injury (NBC Olympics Website – Aug 13)

Video: Alise Post Interview on NBC Affiliate KARE – Minneapolis (Aug 13)

BMX Power Couple Go For Olympic Gold – NBC Olympics Website (Aug 14)

Video: Visalia BMX Rider Brooke Crain in Rio for Second Olympics (Aug 14)

Buchanan Aims for BMX Redemption – Yahoo Sports (Aug 15)

Q&A With Brooke Crain – NBC Olympics Website (Aug 15)

CHECK OUT THE OFFICIAL OLYMPIC AUCTION SITE

Auction for the Closing Ceremony Flags and Certain Event/Match Equipment

LINKS TO BMX EVENT LIVE STREAMS
The page on the links below show a Velodrome photo, but if you look below it is, in fact the BMX event noted.

WEDNESDAY (Time Trials) – 12:30PM EDT

THURSDAY (Mens Quarterfinals) – 12:30PM EDT

FRIDAY (Semis, Mains and Medal Ceremony) – 12:30PM EDT

MASTER SCHEDULE OF BMX EVENTS

Master Schedule PDF of BMX Events at Rio2016
Times in PDF are local Rio time. Rio is +1hr from US Eastern Time

OLYMPIC RESULTS PAGES

Women’s Olympic BMX Results

Men’s Olympic BMX Results

Top Photo via Facebook. Photographer unknown.





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Skateboarding in Olympics For Tokyo 2020

August 3, 2016 by · Comments Off 

Skateboarding in Tokyo 2020

On March 28, 2011, BMX News ran an article foretelling a time when skateboarding and BMX Freestyle might be included in the Olympics. Today, the decision was made to bring Skaters into the Olympic Village at Tokyo 2020, though apparently under the banner of the International Federation of Skateboarding Read more

ODI Building a Champion 3: Alise Post

July 12, 2016 by · Comments Off 

ODI Building a Champion 3: Alise Post

ODI is back for week number three of their “Building a Champion” video series. This week, we tag along with Alise Post and get 102 seconds to soak-up the sunshine she brings with her–in the gym, on the sprint line and at the track. She has plenty of inspiring talk that gives riders, parents and fans around the world a unique window into her world, and what it takes to rise to her level in our sport.


“I love the moments before the gate drops…” says Alise in the above video. We started the Dan’s Comp “Countdown to Rio” ticker at 365 days last August. It sits at just 35 days today, and it seems like it’s going faster and faster every day. The next thing we know, it will be at zero and the gate will drop on the 2016 Summer Games. We look forward to seeing Alise take her spot on the gate, and hopefully on the medal stand for Team USA.

Links

ODI Website

ODI Grips YouTube Channel





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Greg Romero Previews USA Olympic Uniform

July 7, 2016 by · Comments Off 

Coach Greg Romero previews olympic uniform

Facebook recently rolled out their live video streaming feature to the general user base, and it has been very well received. Widely used to broadcast random races, or tell stories in a very rich fashion, Greg Romero has used the capability to successfully chronicle live training sessions with his athletes. Read more

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