Feature | BMX

Olympic BMX racing at Tokyo 2020: Top five things to know

Who are the top BMX racers at the Tokyo 2020 Games in 2021? When and where will Olympic BMX racing take place? What is the history of BMX racing at the Olympics? Find out here.

By Alessandro Poggi ·

BMX racing will be one of the most thrilling sports to watch at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in 2021.

Riders launch themselves from a gate atop an 8m-high, 35-degree start hill, battling it out along an approximately 400m-long course. They can reach 60km/h while riding over alternating jumps and around banked corners.

But who are the top contenders? When will competition take place at the Olympics in Japan? Where will it be held? Ever wanted to know about the sport’s Olympic history? Here is our guide to the top things to know about Olympic BMX racing.

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Top BMX racers at Tokyo 2020

At the Tokyo 2020 Games in 2021, the top BMX racing contenders come from traditional European cycling countries, such as the Netherlands and France, as well as the USA, Australia, and Colombia.

In the women's competition, Mariana Pajon will be chasing her third consecutive Olympic title. The 'Queen of BMX' returned from a serious knee injury in 2019 to clinch her second Pan American gold medal in Lima. The double Olympic champion will be challenged by two-time world champion Alise Willoughby of the USA and 2018 world gold medallist Laura Smulders of the Netherlands.

In the men's event, American Connor Fields will be looking to defend his title from Rio 2016. His main rivals are likely to be Niek Kimmann and Twan van Gendt from the Netherlands, Joris Daudet and Sylvain Andre from France, and Olympic bronze medallist Carlos Ramirez of Colombia.

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Olympic BMX racing format at Tokyo 2020

There will be 24 competitors in both the men’s and women’s events. Six riders compete in each of the four heats over three rounds, with the top 16 proceeding to the semi-final, and then the top eight competing in the final.

Riders' race rankings are determined based on both time and points, but unlike at the Rio 2016 Games, there will be no individual time trials at the Tokyo 2020 Games.

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Olympic BMX racing venue at Tokyo 2020

BMX competitions (racing and freestyle) will be held at the Ariake Urban Sports Park.

The venue is located in the stunning waterfront area close to the Athletes' Village and will also host Skateboarding events.

Olympic BMX racing schedule at Tokyo 2020

Competition takes place over two days, 29 and 30 July 2021

All times are Japan Standard Time (UTC +9 hours)

Thu 29 July 2021, 10:00 - 12:00

  • Men's and Women's Quarterfinals

Fri 30 July 2021, 10:00 - 12:20

  • Men's and Women's Semifinals
  • Men's and Women's Final

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Olympic BMX racing history

BMX racing made its Olympic debut at the Beijing 2008 Games and has been part of the Olympic programme ever since.

The USA have won the most Olympic medals (five), followed by Colombia with four.

Latvia's Maris Strombergs and Colombia's Mariana Pajon are the most successful BMX riders at the Olympics with two titles each.

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