Freestyle BMX to be introduced at London 2012 Olympics

Carlton Reid
Freestyle BMX to be introduced at London 2012 Olympics

Dave Brailsford, British Cycling's performance director yesterday told MPs, peers and bike big-wigs that racing BMX would be joined by freestyle BMX at the London Olympics.

[Pic shows Lord Berkeley, Dave Brailsford, Shanaze Reade, and Bernard Jenkin].

"It's very strongly rumoured that 'park' BMX, or freestyle, will be introduced before the 2012 Olympics," said Brailsford in front of a select audience at a Westminster reception hosted by the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group.  

To laughs from the audience, he said: "The information I'm getting is I'll be performance director of street BMX so I will have to go and get my hoodie and baggie shorts."

(But which cycle discipline will have to be removed from the Olympics to make way for street BMX? The UCI does not have a good track record on this sort of decision).

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There are MP3 audio files of yesterday's reception here and here, or get them via iTunes.

Brailsford was at the reception with BMX racer Shanaze Reade. His entertaining talk featured an aborted scheme to make Ed Clancy faster (it was all to do with cinching in Clancy's skinsuit at the collarbone) and he revealed the Beijing Olympics skinsuits have all been shredded for protection from industrial espionage. The suits were made in cloak and dagger fashion, with the fabric sourcer and the hand-sewer unaware of each other's indentities.

Brailsford also called for Britain's golden successes in the Beijing velodrome to lead to increased participation in cycling before the London Olympics in 2012.

"What British Cycling is trying to do now is to take the same focus and drive as for the Olympic Games, and apply it to the participation drive," he said.

Wearing jeans and a British Cycling shirt emblazoned with the Sky TV logo on the collar and arms, he praised the reach of the broadcaster, saying the commercial link-up between Sky and British Cycling was invaluable, especially at targetting children.

"We are aligned to increase participation through international success," said Brailsford. "It makes no sense my standing here as cycling performance director unless we connect back."

The reception in the House of Commons also heard from Kulveer Ranger, Boris Johnson's transport chief, and David Brown, managing director for Surface Transport at Transport for London. They stressed the importance of having a cycling mayor and that they were charged with massively increasing cycling in London before 2012.

The goal is to one in 10 commuters to travel by bike in London. Brown said that the velib-style bike hire scheme was currently accepting tenders for the running of the scheme, with 20+ companies putting in bids.

Click here to see Ride BMX's illustration of how the podium might look in 2012...

Tags: olympics

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