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Podcast: Tony D — USAC BMX Programs Manager

October 11, 2018 by · Comments Off 

Tony Degollado USAC Interview
Big news this week out of Colorado Springs, Colorado, as USA Cycling added a big name to their already massively-competent crew. In the lead-up to the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, the federation has added Tony Degollado— “Tony D,” to most of us in the BMX world, as BMX Programs Manager.

Tony is uniquely qualified to take on this position, as he has long-experience in both the Racing and Freestyle aspects of the sport, having been a racer, team manager for Haro Bikes (where he directly managed the racing and freestyle teams), brand manager for Kenda Tires, Vee Tires, served as co-founder of Driven Brand (again, in tires) and, most-recently, serving as BMX Freestyle Program Manager for USA BMX.

In his new role at USA Cycling, Tony will work directly under the ringleader of the whole BMX show over there, Jamie Staff—who has been running the program the past five years (hard to believe it has been THAT long! Jamie continues doing a great job with the program).

It is our privilege to welcome Tony back to Announcers tower, to talk about his new gig, as well as chat about some rank-and-file BMX news.

Listen Now

Podcast with Tony Degollado

A *BIG* BMX News congratulations to Tony on landing one of the “dream jobs” in all of the BMX universe. We look forward to seeing what he, Jamie and all the shot-callers at USAC put together in the next 655 days.

—Mike Carruth

Josh McLean Parts Ways With Factory Yess

August 26, 2018 by · Comments Off 

Josh McLean Parts Ways With Factory Yess

Last time we saw Yess BMX Factory Flyer, Josh McLean, was a few weeks back at the Tangent Pro-Am in Wisconsin (he took 7th in the main). Today, Josh and Yess BMX jointly announced his departure from the Factory Team. No specific reason was given on why the change was being made, but he handled it with class, and it’s clear that his departure is on good terms all around.

Josh told News, in a statement:

As of today @yessbmx and I will be parting ways. I have had a great 6+ years representing the brand. Have met a lot of great friends through the team and made many memories. A massive thank you to Bill and Renny for all the support and opportunities over the years.

It’s good to be leaving on good terms and we will be staying in touch with each other. I will still be continuing with my other sponsors for the remaining of 2018. I wish all the best to the @yessbmx crew!!

Yess BMX VP, Renny Husada said this, of the change:

We’re sad to see Josh leave the Yess family which we have enjoyed watching him grow up and excel through the ranks. We wish him the best of luck as he makes his Olympic run for Tokyo 2020! Happy to have been part of his journey!

As Renny alluded to in his statement, keep an eye on Josh as a Team Australia 2020 Olympic hopeful.

Links

Yess BMX Website

Josh McLean on Instagram

Derby City Nats Get First 2020 Points

May 1, 2018 by · Comments Off 

Derby City BMX - Louisville, KY

USA BMX announced late last week that the pro schedule at the Derby City Nationals over Labor Day weekend will be changed from Friday/Saturday to Saturday/Sunday. Derby City is a three-day national that runs August 31, September 1 and September 2.

As News reported on April 18, qualification points for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics start on September 1, so USA BMX was able to get the schedule changed in order to host the very-first qualification event of the 2020 Olympic cycle. Very nice, guys!

The change covers all Pro racing (A-Pro, Vet Pro, and Elite Men and Women). On Friday, there will be a Pro Open, running off the small hill.

In the two previous cycles, the United States had the most qualification races, as part of the USA BMX Pro Series and North American Supercross series. The table is set for the same to occur as part of the 2020 Olympic qualifying cycle (which runs from September 1, 2018 to June 1, 2020).

That means riders of all nations have a big incentive to come race in the USA to earn the most points for themselves and their country. THAT means better pro action here than anywhere else. And, of course, a wide-open opportunity for Team USA riders to mix it up with the best competition, and to cash in on the points race via consistent podium finishes. Hard not to LOVE that.

The Derby City change has the added bonus of putting the pros back on their traditional Saturday/Sunday schedule for the first time in a while. No secret that we are HUGE fans of the Sat/Sun schedule, when the most fans are in the house to see our best riders ply their trade. Who knows? Maybe this will effect a change in the program for the 2019 schedule, back to Sat/Sun.

We can only hope.

—Mike Carruth

USA Cycling Creates All-Discipline “National Team”

December 15, 2017 by · Comments Off 

USA Cycling National Team
It was like Hall of the Justice League at the US Olympic Training center in Colorado Springs, CO earlier this week, as 23 of the newly-named 51-member USA Cycling “National Team” came togdether for a day of briefings and meet & greet.

Top stars in seven disciplines were represented (BMX Freestyle, BMX Supercross, Mountain Bike, Cyclocross, Road, Track Endurance and Track Sprint).

This was the first time we got a glimpse of the Freestyle team as one unit, and got to hear their take on how conforming to the fairly-ridgid USAC/UCI/Olympic format squares-up with their decidedly anti-conformity sport.

“Whoever doesn’t want to ride the Olympics doesn’t need to, and whoever does…this is a great opportunity.”

That was how Freestyle site, Vital BMX, opened a video highlighting the team, with an on-camera quote by Pat Casey, one of the eight-member Freestyle squad.

The USA Cycling National Team was selected, not based on “teacher’s pet” rules, but based on certain results-specific criteria (see table below).

In BMX Racing, there are three levels (not surprisingly: Gold, Silver and Bronze) of support for which an athlete may qualify.

The USA Cycling National Team Members, and the results that qualified them to the program, are:

GOLD LEVEL QUALIFICATION (Alphabetically)
Connor Fields – Top 3 World Cup Overall
Alise Post – 1st at the World Championships
Corben Sharrah – 1st at the World Championships

BRONZE-LEVEL QUALIFICIATION (Alphabetically)
Sean Gaian – 15th World Championships
Dani George – 11th at World Championship
Mika Shaw – 16th at World Championship

Don’t let the “Gold/Silver/Bronze” levels confuse you, as it did us at first. Unlike the medal stand, where there is but-one Gold medalist, multiple people can qualify into the Gold level, and some levels (like silver in BMX) may not have anyone qualified.

Gold-Level qualifiers receive $25,000 in annual support from USA Cycling, and all-kinds of support services to keep their eyes on the prize between now and Tokyo. See the graphic below for the full table of bennies.

Bronze qualifiers are in a rarified environment, to be sure, but there is no financial support, per se.

News Caught up with Connor Fields, who qualified at the Gold Level for his top three finish in the 2017 World Cup standings. here’s what he told us about being named to the National Team:

I am super excited to have been a part of the official USA Cycling National Team launch this week in Colorado Springs.

I have been involved with USA Cycling for nearly 10 years now and this is the best program I have seen from them in that time.

It is easy to understand the different levels of support involved now. It is crystal clear how to earn them and what they include.

It was also great to meet and interact with members of the team from all different disciplines of cycling. We have access to so many recourses through USAC and USOC and to learn about more of them this week was great.

For me personally, I was most excited about the opportunity to learn more about all of the ways we can try to become better BMX racers with the resources available to us.

With the help of USA Cycling, I attained the following results:
2016 Olympic Champion
2017 USA BMX #1 pro
2013 UCI BMX World Cup overall Champion
2011 Pan American Games Gold Medalist
2012, 2013 UCI BMX World Champion – Time Trial
2012, 2014, 2016 USA Cycling National Champion

Thanks to Connor for taking the time to give us a first-person account of the experience.

We should add that membership on this “National Team” does not interfere with the athletes’ participation on their respective factory teams (“trade teams,” in USAC parlance). It also does not guarantee inclusion on the world championship team or world cup race delegations, all of which have their own qualification criteria.

We will have more on the USA Cycling National Team program, and how the athletes are making use of the services provided, in a future report.

—Mike Carruth

Links

USAC National Team Qualification Criteria and Benefits






BMX News Promax Top Story, Presented by Promax Components

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

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

UCI Brings BMX Park Into the Fold

May 18, 2015 by · Comments Off 

UCI BMX Adds Park to World Cup

Back on Feb 16, 2013, BMX News reported that UCI was eyeing BMX Freestyle as a potential Olympic sport. This weekend, that possibility took another step forward, as they announced BMX Park as the latest BMX World Cup event, joining BMX Supercross on the roster.

UCI posted the following release Read more

Top Stories of 2013

December 30, 2013 by · Comments Off 

BMX News Top Stories of 2013

We had some great stories to report in 2013. BMX Racing is going in a positive direction, and everything that happened this year points to a bigger-and-badder year ahead in 2014.

We took some time, during our Christmas-week hiatus, to look back at every story we posted this year. BMX News brought the community hundreds-upon-hundreds of newsworthy stories, over 10,000 curated photos and 25-hours of podcast interviews. Our 2014 plan steps up that game considerably, and we are charging our batteries already for the season opener in Reno in two weeks.

Of all the stories we published in 2013, we picked the 12 that we felt were most important in the BMX Racing world (presented in chronological order. All links will open in a new window).

January 7 – Mike King Departs USA Cycling Post, Jamie Staff Takes Over

BMX News Top Stories of 2013 - Mike King and Jamie Staff
Mike had been at the helm of the USA Cycling BMX program since the dawning of the Olympic Era (2007), and took the decision with grace saying, in a farewell email to friends “I ultimately failed to bring home an Olympic medal for the United States in 2012. These are the harsh realities that come with this job and I want to wish my successor all the best leading up to 2016.”

On the same day, Jamie Staff assumed the new role of “Director of BMX,” and told BMX News “My sincerest thanks go out to Mike King for all the hard work, mentorship, friendship and direction he’s provided over the years. Mike’s tireless efforts and leadership have placed our US BMX program on an incredibly solid foundation from which to build upon.”

Two days later, Jamie was our guest on the Announcers Tower Podcast (link below), where he outlined his plans for Team USA in 2013, and beyond. A major accomplishment of the program in 2013 was Connor Fields’ win of the UCI BMX Supercross World Cup title.

In October, Mike joined Vee Tire Co. as Tire Development Manager and Brand Ambassador.

Mike King Departs USA Cycling BMX Program

Jamie Staff to be USA Cycling “Director of BMX”

Podcast: New USA Cycling BMX Boss Jamie Staff

Mike King Joins Vee Tire Co



May 13 / August 13 – Live Streaming of Nationals

HWC Bids Farewell to USA BMX Audience
Following the 2011 demise of GO211, there had not been a solid provider for streaming USA BMX nationals. Tampa, FL based Health & Wellness Channel struck a deal with USA BMX in the spring, and by Albuquerque, we were enjoying the live coverage in our bunny slippers at home. Three months to the day after reporting the launch of the program, HWC suddenly pulled the plug, showing a “farewell” message to viewers immediately following the Buckeye Nationals coverage. USA BMX self-produced the Grand National streaming, via YouTube live, and it was a big hit with fans. We are optimistic that we may see more races streamed in the new year (though no official word on that).

Streaming To Return For USA BMX Nationals

HWC Mutes USA BMX Streaming



June 2 – Nashville Elite Walk-Out

BMX News 2013 Top Stories - Elite Walk Out
On Day Three of the Music City Nationals in Nashville, the pros were angered by the fact that their checks for the previous two days did not match the published payout table USA BMX had published in the rulebook. USA BMX assured them it would be addressed in the days following the race, but the entire of Elite Men and Women’s classes walked off in a spectacle display along the fenceline, receiving high-fives from fans as they walked back to the pits (most thought it was a new “meet the fans” initiative, but word spread quickly, as USA BMX officials dropped a number of empty gates to make the race official).

It was a rare moment when all BMX racing pros stood together against the sanction, a display of solidarity which had not been seen at any point in the history of the sport. In the days following the race, all payments were made good to the riders, as was promised before the walk-out. Feelings on both sides were healing for the balance of the season.

Elites Take a Roll Out…And Keep Going

USA BMX Issues Statement on Elite Protest



June 6 – VSI Products Suspends BMX Program

BMX News 2013 Top Stories - VSI Suspends BMX Program
Home to the top brands in BMX Racing for years, VSI Products, parent to Intense BMX, Speedco and Sinz announced they would be leaving the BMX market, as of June 30. Aside from being a major shock to the industry, this move left Elite riders Brian Kirkham, Arielle Martin, Dominique Daniels and Kory Cook without a sponsor in the middle of the season. Kirkham would announce his retirement after South Park, Dominique would continue in her Grand Canyon University jersey, aboard another frame, and Arielle and Kory would join Toby Henderson’s Promax brand for the balance of 2013. Arielle would also retire before the end of the season.

VSI Products to Suspend BMX Program June 30



July 18 – Death of Howie Cohen

BMX News 2013 Top Stories - Death of Howie Cohen
“KuwaHowie,” as Bob Osborn once called him in BMX Action magazine was one of the most important figures in the early days of the BMX industry. His “Everything Bicycles” was one of the first, and definitely the most prominent BMX-centric wholesale distributor in the world at the time. Howie brought Kuwahara Bicycles to the United States, and worked with Steven Spielberg to put Elliott on a (Kuwahara) BMX Bike in the 1982 blockbuster “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial.” Howie was an amazing person, and generous mentor to countless members of the BMX and bicycle industries. He was 74 years young.

Remembering Howie Cohen (1939-2013)



July 24 – Jay Fraga Podcast on Concussions

BMX News 2013 Top Stories - Jay Fraga on Concussions
With the media coverage surrounding veteran NFL players coming forward to say they had been adversely affected by repeated hits to the head during their careers, many sports were taking a fresh look at how their athletes were affected as well. Jay Fraga from Massachusetts took the lead in investigating his own BMX-related concussions, following a series of injuries over the past several years. He appeared on our Announcers Tower Live show to talk about what he learned. Boston University is at the forefront of this research, and Jay has become our defacto expert on the topic. On October 8, the PBS series “Frontline” debuted a two-hour episode entitled “League of Denial,” documenting the NFL case.

Podcast: Jay Fraga on Concussions

PBS Frontline Episode: “League of Denial”



September 9 – 2020 Olympics Awarded to Tokyo

BMX News 2013 Top Stories - Tokyo Selected for 2020 Olympics
With the countdown-to-Rio clock already running, the International Olympic Committee set its sights on the 2020 Games, and awarded them to Tokyo, Japan. Tokyo hosted the 1964 games, and won the bid for a 21st century games over Madrid and Istanbul. The bid package included artist renderings of the BMX venue (above), and puts BMX Racing in the middle of the action, just as it was in London. With an on-going nuclear crisis following the April 2011 earthquake, critics have expressed concerns that Fukushima (less than 200 miles to the North) may pose a safety risk to the Tokyo Games.

2020 Olympic Games Awarded to Tokyo



October 2 – Arielle Martin Retires

BMX News 2013 Top Stories - Arielle Martin Retires
One of the qualities that makes a great athlete–whether in BMX or otherwise–is “heart.” Arielle Martin is an athlete who has exhibited an incredible amount of heart in her career. An indefatigable competitor, AMV15 suffered injuries which kept her out of the 2008 Olympics. Then in 2012– after earning a spot on the London 2012 team, she was struck-down by a life-threatening crash just hours before leaving for London. Still, she came back. After recovering from her September 2012 injury, Arielle was back on the bike in time for the Winter Nationals. The Podcast we recorded with her in October covers all her reasons for retiring after the last Supercross race of 2013, and is worth another listen. Today, Arielle is a big part of the USA Cycling BMX coaching staff, and we will be hearing more from her, in her new role, very soon.

Arielle Martin on Retirement/What’s Next



November 12 – $125K Payout for the 2013 Grands

BMX News 2013 Top Stories - $125k Grands Payout
The 2013 USA BMX Grand National would be the richest-cash weekend in the history of BMX Racing. The AA Pro champ would hoist a $20,000 check, with the top Pro Women taking home $5,000. Sam Willoughby and Mariana Pajon would be the recipients of the top-title prize money.

$125K Payday Awaits Pros in Tulsa



November 30 – Sam Willoughby Caps-Off a Tremendous Season

BMX News 2013 Top Stories -  Sam Willoughby
With an astonishing 20 AA Pro wins, 13 of which were consecutive, Sam Willoughby was the absolute ruler of the top class in 2013. This was Sam’s third title in four years, and we’re sure he is getting ready to make a run at title #4, which would tie him with legends Pete Loncarevich and Gary Ellis for most ABA/USA BMX titles won.



November 30 / December 1 – Largest BMX Race Ever

BMX News 2013 Top Stories - Largest BMX Race Ever
When motos were posted at the hotel, after the Friday night Race Of Champions was over, word spread fast that the 2013 USA BMX Grand National would be the largest BMX race of all time–at 712 motos and approximately 4,040 entries. The USA BMX crew ran the race with Swiss-watch precision, and had us out of the building by 3:30PM on day one (for the first round), and just shy of 9:30PM on Sunday. Some predicted Sunday would go as late as 1AM.



December 17 – Stay to Save

BMX News 2013 Top Stories - USA BMX Stay to Save
Just prior to the Christmas break, USA BMX announced that the long-standing $5 per class pre-registration discount would be replaced in 2014 by a $5 per class discount for staying at USA BMX host hotels. The initiative, dubbed “Stay To Save” would also bring with it a new online booking capability. In our story, BMX News did a “Quick Check” on the new system, and found that riders racing one bike for two days in Reno, as one example, would save $34 by booking through the Stay To Save program. Still, there was major outcry from families who camp, or prefer to stay at other-than-host-hotels.

Closer Look: USA BMX “Stay To Save” Program


As we end 2013, we would like to thank all of you who have made the work involved in writing, and shooting, and planning, and recording content for this website worth every second of it. We greatly appreciate the messages of support throughout the year, and the personal interaction we enjoy with so many of you at the races.

We also want to offer sincere thanks to all of our advertisers for making what we bring to the BMX Racing community possible. Without all of you, our coverage would not be possible. We emphasize that to everyone reading, and encourage you to support those who support our efforts.

We wish all of you a happy, safe and prosperous New Year, in your BMX endeavors, and otherwise.

—Mike Carruth





Speedco Top Story, Presented by Speedco Bicycles

2020 Olympic Games Awarded to Tokyo

September 9, 2013 by · Comments Off 

2020 Olympic Games go to Tokyo

Early Sunday, in a ceremony in Buenos Aires, Argentina, the International Olympic Committee selected Tokyo as the host city for the 2020 Summer Olympics. Tokyo beat out Istanbul and Madrid for the honors.

Tokyo Governor Naoki Inose told reporters after the announcement: “In most competitions, if you don’t win a gold medal, you can also win maybe a bronze. In this battle, there was only the gold.”

If the projected figures are accurate, it could mean $40 BILLION in positive economic effects for the city, and more than 150,000 jobs–largely in the construction trades.

Venue Map at Tokyo 2020
The BMX Venue (above and top) is situated right in the thick of things, just across from the Olympic Village, and among Volleyball, Tennis Gymnastics and, of course, the velodrome.

It’s hard to believe that is has been four years already since Americans were on the edge of our seats awaiting the result of the 2016 bid competition. Chicago suffered a devastating defeat in Copenhagen, and blew more than $100 million on the process. We were looking forward to welcoming the world to the BMX News Global Command Center for an Olympic Eve party, before heading over to Garfield Park to shoot the race.

Rio, for it’s part, has had an uncomfortable time settling into its role, as citizens protest the money spent on the games, at a time when municipal services are being cut, and gas prices are on the rise. There has even been talk of a backlash against those who might attend the games– a sort of “reverse hospitality.”

No such problem in Tokyo, though the specter of the Fukushima nuclear plant accident has been mentioned. Japanese officials have said this epic catastrophe will have no impact on the games.

In related news, as part of their meeting in Argentina, the members of the International Olympic Committee voted cycling one of the 25 “Core Sports” of the Summer Olympics.

UCI President Pat McQuaid acknowledged BMX Racing as part of that announcement, saying

One of my proudest achievements as an IOC member has been securing the introduction of BMX as a new discipline in the Olympic programme. It made its Olympic debut at the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008 and was also a huge success in London last year – as indeed were all of the other disciplines.

BMX News will keep you posted on all the happenings leading up to both Rio and Tokyo.

Links

Tokyo 2020 Candidate City Website





Speedco Top Story, Presented by Speedco Bicycles

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