Along with a wave of other action sports being added to the Olympics in 2020, BMX freestyle has been announced as a new Olympic Sport after the IOC’s meeting in Switzerland. BMX racing has been in the Olympics since 2008, so it’s about time its evil twin BMX freestyle got a slice of the action.
The Olympic Committee is trying to appeal to a younger audience, and for a generation where the Olympics might have seemed somewhat boring before, they may very well succeed.
Photo: Tom Isted
Whilst nobody can deny that freestyle BMX makes good TV, how will the exposure affect the sport itself?
Generally there are two viewpoints when it comes to publicity and exposure of sports like Skateboarding and BMX; One is that extreme sports with a corresponding subculture are their answer to mainstream sports and the more mainstream their sport becomes, the less individual they are. And the other side care not for the culture as much as the exhilaration and motivation to improve at the sport, and to get more people involved in the sport.
Photo: Cam Peake
As extreme sports are becoming bigger, in terms of participation and exposure, the association with anti-establishment values and rebellious behaviour is decreasing and we are seeing professional extreme sports athletes taking their discipline more and more seriously, in terms of fitness, training and diet. The Olympics will hopefully serve as testament to this and show the masses that these guys and girls are in fact devoted athletes, not just rebels or adrenaline junkies.
The Olympics will give the chance for more people to represent their country in a way they definitely did not imagine when they first started out. It’s an opportunity that most of us would jump at, literally.
I can’t help but think that with more exposure, will come more skate parks, more trails, more technological advances in equipment etc.… all good stuff if you ask me.