Cycling-Track has been on the Olympic Games since the 1896 edition, the first in the Modern Era, held in Athens, Greece. The discipline has been a fixture at all editions since then, apart from in Stockholm, Sweden in 1912, when only Road Cycling took place.
Since the first official competitions in 1870, cyclists have competed in velodromes mounted in indoor arenas. The indoor environment was chosen so that races would not suffer from weather restrictions, and race promoters were happy to be able to charge spectators to watch the races.
In Cycling-Track, the bicycles are designed to reach the maximum possible speed and, rather curiously, they have only one gear and no brakes, given that stopping suddenly during a race would pose a serious accident risk on the track.
Although Cycling-Track has been part of the Olympic programme for such a long time, women only started to participate in 1988, in Seoul, South Korea, in sprint events.
The sport’s Olympic programme features 5 events, equal for men women: Sprint, Team Sprint, Keirin, Team Pursuit, and Omnium.
The Omnium race, debuting at the London 2012 Olympics, is similar to the decathlon and heptathlon, and cyclists will compete in six events for one medal: flying lap, points race, elimination, individual pursuit, scratch and a time trial. The winner will be the rider with the lowest accumulated score.