The spectacular track at Urban Park was finally inaugurated on Wednesday, when audacious bikers showed a new Olympic discipline to the world: BMX Freestyle had its junior debut at Buenos Aires 2018. The sport will also be included in the senior Olympic programme at Tokyo 2020.
In another innovation at the Youth Olympic Games, the BMX Freestyle tournament kicked off with the mixed team event featuring eight pairs, made up of one woman and one man representing the same or different countries. Each rider has two individual performances per day, and men and women compete separately.
The two scores were added to determine which riders made it to Thursday’s finals. On the women’s side, the victors were Valeriia Pinkina (Russia), Agustina Roth (Argentina), Kanami Tanno (Japan) and Lara Lessmann (Germany). Yuma Oshimo (Japan), Inaki Iriartes (Argentina), Patriks Viksna (Latvia) and Evan Brandes (Germany) advanced to the men’s finals.
"What I’m going through is totally crazy. I have tons of fun on my bike and people’s support warms my soul. Their support helps me perform so much better," said Argentina’s Roth, after showing off her skills in Wednesday’s event in front of the home crowd.
Roth’s partner in the event, Inaki Iriartes, also did well at Urban Park: "Our names will be written in history. Being part of the Youth Olympic Games feels incredible. The important thing is that we’ll get more exposure and reach an audience that doesn’t know these alternative sports. I'm not going out there with a medal on my mind. I just want to improve myself."