UCI working to bring skateboarding & freestyle BMX to the Olympics

Sounds rad to the power of sick! But if skateboarding and freestyle BMX are in what's out?

by Tony Farrelly   March 27, 2011  

Skateboard_on_side.jpg

Skateboarding and freestyle BMX could become Olympic sports if cycling's world governing body the UCI gets its way. In an interview with the BBC UCI president, Pat McQuaid, has revealed that discussions are taking place to bring both sports to the Olympics… under UCI control naturally.

This is not the first time that McQuaid has expressed a desire to bring skateboarding and freestyle BMX under the UCI's control he mentioned both as sports the UCI would like to develop in an interview with Bikebiz back in 2005. At the time he was the UCI's President-in-waiting and on his accession to the top job that aspiration seemed to have been forgotten – let's face it the man has had quite a lot on his plate these past 5 years. However it would seem that McQuaid has not forgotten, far from it he has been working behind the scenes to make his plan a reality.

The UCI is a well connected within the International Olympic Committee - former UCI president Hein Verbruggen is a senior member of the IOC and the UCI has made its case on the grounds of relevancy to the world's youth – keeping down with the kids is something the IOC hierarchy are apparently keen to do.

"The International Olympic Committee (IOC) recognise they need to have events in the Olympic programme that bring kids into sport," McQuaid told the BBC.

"BMX came into the Games in Beijing for the first time and was a spectacular success - we've shown that to the IOC members and the reaction from the media was superb.

"Discussions [related to BMX freestyle and skateboarding] are ongoing. I hope they come to fruition and we see those disciplines in the Olympic Games. It'd be wonderful for young kids to see events they can aim for in the Olympics.

"This is at an early stage and there is quite a lot to discuss, but from initial discussions with [IOC president] Jacques Rogge and others it's very positive."

While freestyle BMX might seem a fairly logical next step for the UCI, skateboarding on the face of it doesn't have much in common with cycling… except for the wheels.

"They're all related to wheels, they're all related to bikes as such, and from that point of view cycling is the sport that can bring those disciplines in." McQuaid told the BBC.

The plain fact is that skateboarding doesn't have a powerful world governing body behind it - not one with clout at the IOC so if in the short term it is going to have any chance of getting in to the five ringed circus it needs to hook up with an established player like the UCI. Indeed it may well be that someone at the IOC would like to see skateboarding in and views the UCI as the most likely, vehicle for achieving that goal.

While skateboarding and freestyle BMX might both be good for the Olympics and, as BikeBiz notes, the UCI, whether the squeaky clean corporate embrace of the Olympic movement and the men in blazers would be good for freestyle BMX and skateboarding does not seem to have been mentioned. Sanitized versions of either would surely lack the air of rebellious free spiritedness that attracted the world's youth in the first place.

One in one out is standard Olympic policy when it comes to new sports and events joining the 'Olympic family' but according to the BBC no events would be lost from the Olympic roster were skateboarding to be added. interestingly though they make no such reassurance regarding freestyle BMX.

BMX racing was added to the Olympic cycling programme in Beijing at the expense of track cycling's – until then – blue riband event the 1 kilometre time trial. The number of track disciplines at next year's London Olympics has been cut further to achieve parity between male and female events – the advent of another BMX discipline would surely lead to the loss of another part of the cycling programme. Many would consider track cycling at the Olympics to be already down to the bare bones which leaves the Olympic road race and time trial, should the UCI's current difficulties surrounding plans for a breakaway professional tour come to a head they might well be surplus to requirements by 2016. Rad to the power of sick! … as they probably say in Lausanne these days.

14 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

they'll have to change the 'dope' testing if they do Cool

posted by Decster [246 posts]
27th March 2011 - 13:12

1 Like

Thank god the UCI don't control athletics as well or they'd swap the 100m for the egg and spoon race.

posted by wild man [283 posts]
27th March 2011 - 18:58

0 Likes

Ridiculous - why should skateboarding be controlled by cycling's governing body? It is be like FIFA saying that American Pool doesn't have a relationship with the IOC and, since both sports are played with balls, Pool should be brought in to the Olympics under FIFA control.

And another thing: "They're all related to wheels, they're all related to bikes as such" - well, Pat, unless it is a double diamond frame with all the right tube profiles and the bars, saddle and cranks are set in the correct place, the UCI doesn't actually see it as a bike. Having wheels is, apparently, not good enough.

posted by step-hent [694 posts]
27th March 2011 - 21:55

1 Like

I know the clocks went forwards but its still 3 days to 1st April!

Shay

posted by shay cycles [234 posts]
27th March 2011 - 23:56

1 Like

Why does Pat McQuaid have a job ?

abudhabiChris's picture

posted by abudhabiChris [539 posts]
28th March 2011 - 7:25

3 Likes

Judging freestyle BMX, now there's a thing

OldRidgeback

posted by OldRidgeback [2233 posts]
28th March 2011 - 8:53

1 Like

I assume by "freestyle" they mean it is about the performance of tricks rather than getting around a course in the minimum amount of time? As far as I am concerned, if the results of a contest depend on scores assigned by a panel of judges, then it isn't a sport. Nor can it really be considered an art. It is whatever ballroom dancing is. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but it isn't something that should displace yet more proper cycling events, which are among the few in the Olympics that can truly be said to combine physical strength, skill and tactics, to produce unequivocal winners.

As for skakeboarding, if the UCI got control they would presumably insist riders use the original skakeboard, as invented by Marty McFly in 1955.

posted by handlebarcam [529 posts]
28th March 2011 - 10:21

1 Like

Sweet jesus, no - please. Just, no.

andylul's picture

posted by andylul [412 posts]
28th March 2011 - 10:55

1 Like

handlebarcam wrote:
if the results of a contest depend on scores assigned by a panel of judges, then it isn't a sport

Not a big fan of gymnastics or diving then? Ice skating? Synchronised swimming?

Me neither Smile

Dave Atkinson's picture

posted by Dave Atkinson [7432 posts]
28th March 2011 - 11:30

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dave_atkinson wrote:
Not a big fan of gymnastics or diving then? Ice skating? Synchronised swimming?

No, I do like gymnastics. And I like diving, ice skating and synchronised swimming. But which is best? There's only one way to find out...

Actually, a thunderdome-style fight-off between sports for inclusion in the games might be a good idea. I nominate Carlos Barredo and Rui Costa for cycling, although they might find it tough if matched against Tonya Harding.

posted by handlebarcam [529 posts]
28th March 2011 - 14:15

1 Like

>And another thing: "They're all related to wheels, they're all related to bikes as such" - well, Pat, unless it is a double diamond frame with all the right tube profiles and the bars, saddle and cranks are set in the correct place, the UCI doesn't actually see it as a bike. Having wheels is, apparently, not good enough.

Indeed - bmx and skateboarding being represented by a stick-up-it's backside cycling organisation doesn't strike me as being a natural fit...

posted by JonD [189 posts]
28th March 2011 - 15:53

2 Likes

abudhabiChris wrote:
Why does Pat McQuaid have a job ?

Indeed...
Also, more than a touch ironic that a man who was banned for life from Olympic competition, seems to have such influence at the IOC.
Hang on a minute! Judged by those standards perhaps well see Ricco pop back up as a UCI board member? Confused

posted by pwake [307 posts]
28th March 2011 - 22:48

2 Likes

The UCI can't organise a piss up in a brewery. both sports are brilliant, but well catered for at Xgames. BMX racing is an athletic sport so there's a difference. Broadly I am not in favour of sports where the judges impartiality may be questionable.

"I thought of that whilst riding my Bicycle" Einstein on the theory of relativity

ribbledibble's picture

posted by ribbledibble [10 posts]
29th March 2011 - 19:23

1 Like

I would be much delighted if extreme sports such as freestyle BMX and skateboarding would be added into the Olympics. But with so much governing bodies colliding, it's still close to impossible. Love to see Tony Hawk judging the skateboarding events though Wink

Regards,

Michael J. Gagnier
Skate Clothing

ddiswta5p's picture

posted by ddiswta5p [1 posts]
18th July 2011 - 11:36

1 Like