BMX is the newest discipline at the Olympic Games, debuting in Beijing in 2008. The sport arose in the late 1960s in California, following on the back of a wave of interest in motocross throughout the United States. Inspired by circuits featuring land ramps and many obstacles, children and teenagers built tracks in their backyards and on land near their homes, which gave birth to Bicycle Moto Cross, or BMX.
Due to its low cost, the sport soon became a hit. In the 1970s, the first federation to manage the sport was established in the USA. As races became more popular, the sport spread to other continents, and it took off in Europe in the early 1980s.
The International BMX Federation was created in 1981, and the following year saw the first world championships. In 1993, the sport came under the management of the International Cycling Federation (known by French acronym UCI). The bicycles have just one gear and one brake, 20-inch wheels, and a sturdy frame to cope with the rises, falls, ramps and obstacles found on tracks.
The only BMX event at the Olympic Games is the Supercross. Eight cyclists compete simultaneously, starting off from a ten-metre ramp and competing in various heats, each lasting approximately 40 seconds. The four best athletes go through to the next round until the final. The track for men is slightly longer than the women’s track (470 metres versus 430 metres).