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Bicycle motocross (BMX) started in the late 1960s in California, around the time that motocross became a popular sport in the USA. The motorised version of the sport was the inspiration for the human-powered competition.
BMX racing offered exciting action at a low cost and the infant sport became an instant hit, especially in California. This led to the foundation of a sanctioning body for BMX in the USA in the early 1970s. Over the following decade, the sport gradually gained in international popularity.
In April 1981, the International BMX Federation was founded. BMX rapidly developed a unique sporting identity and it became evident that the sport had more in common with cycling than motorcycling. This was officially recognised in 1993 when BMX was fully integrated into the International Cycling Union (UCI). The sport made its Olympic debut at the 2008 Beijing Games.
It was in 2008 in Beijing that BMX made its debut on the Olympic programme. The men’s event was won by Latvia’s Maris Strombergs. In the women’s event, it was France’s Anne-Caroline Chausson who took the first Olympic title in this discipline.
BMX is one of the fastest and youngest cycling disciplines. Its principle is simple: eight riders compete on a track filled with jumps, tight bends and obstacles. In Beijing, the Laoshan velodrome track was 370m long for the men and 350m long for the women.