OLYMPIC DEBUT: BMX racing has been in the Olympic program since the 2008 Beijing Games, but this will be the first go-round for its high-flying cousin. BMX freestyle has been a staple of action sports events like the X Games and the Union Cycliste Internationale began holding world championships in 2017. Tokyo will take the sport to a worldwide stage.
HOW IT WORKS: Riders will get two 60-second runs to perform acrobatics and skills, with tricks scored on multiple aspects including difficulty, originality, execution, height and creativity. Riders will be ranked by their average of the two runs.
TOKYO EXPECTATIONS: BMX freestyle will be a visual treat for fans, on TV or if they’re allowed in the venues. The riders fly through and off a variety of ramps and over obstacles, flipping, twisting and spinning. It won’t take fans long to learn trick names like tailwhip, barspin and the superman.
ATHLETES TO WATCH: Australia’s Logan Martin is the current World BMX Freestyle champion and will be one of the gold medal favorites after countryman Brandon Loupos went down with a knee injury. Creative Venezuelan Daniel Dhers will give Martin a run for gold and Japan’s Rim Nakamura, overall winner of the 2019 World Cup, should be in the mix to medal. Don’t count out American Justin Dowell for a medal, either. … American Hannah Roberts is the front-runner to win gold in Tokyo. The 19-year-old from South Bend, Indiana, has quickly made her mark on the sport, winning two of the past three world championships. Chile’s Macarena Perez and Great Britain’s Charlotte Worthington are favorites to medal, and American Perris Benegas could be in the mix.
GOLD MEDAL MOMENTS: Aug. 1 at Ariake Urban Sports Park.