With the introduction of a UCI World Cup, inclusion in the UCI Urban Cycling World Championships, and a year out from its Summer Olympics début, BMX Freestyle is on the up and up. The latest announcement for the discipline – that BMX Freestyle Flatland will be included alongside Park at the UCI Urban Cycling World Championships – is further demonstration of the health and popularity of this incredible sport. We take a look at its development over the last few years.
A little over four years ago, the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) announced the integration of BMX Freestyle Park into its official cycling disciplines.
The first UCI BMX Freestyle World Cup for Park was held in 2016 as part of the FISE World Series, (International Festival of Extreme Sports) organised by Hurricane Action Sports Company. The following year, BMX Freestyle Park was part of the inaugural UCI Urban Cycling World Championships in Chengdu, China, alongside trials and cross-country Eliminator.
2018 saw the inclusion of BMX Freestyle Flatland in the UCI World Cup, and this year Flatland’s first UCI World Champions will be crowned at the Chengdu UCI Urban Cycling World Championships.
Meanwhile, the Park speciality, already part of the Bueno Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games, will make its début on the Summer Olympic stage in Tokyo 2020.
The partnership between the UCI and Hurricane Action Sports Company has seen BMX Freestyle catapulted into the limelight with more competitors, a higher level of competition, a more structured calendar and an explosion as far as the women’s competition is concerned.
UCI President David Lappartient commented: “Thanks to our partnership, the UCI has been able to benefit from Hurricane’s 20 years of experience organising the FISE World Series. Together we have established a UCI World Cup and UCI World Championships of the highest quality, helping the discipline to grow and develop even further.
“As manufacturers of BMX Parks, Hurricane also ensures all our events take place in excellent conditions on the best parks in the world.”
The UCI President added: “The UCI is strongly encouraging its National Federations to integrate BMX Freestyle into their structures, and Hurricane provides valuable support during this process.”
For Hurricane Action Sports Company CEO Hervé André-Benoit, the discipline has developed at an incredible rate since the partnership between Hurricane and the UCI: “The level of riders continues to increase, and the explosion in the women’s category – with triple the number of competitors – is a major result of this collaboration. The mediatisation and the discipline’s notoriety are evolving rapidly, and its popularity is growing worldwide.”
Mr André-Benoit added that there was now a clearer and more structured calendar of international competitions with the UCI World Cup as the reference series.
The number of nations represented at international level has increased, and the popularity of the discipline means a qualification procedure has had to be introduced to limit the number of male athletes registered for events.
Although delighted by the inclusion of BMX Freestyle Park in the Olympic programme, the Hurricane CEO’s ambitions do not stop there: “The UCI and Hurricane have built an atypical model of collaboration which is proving itself from year to year and which we hope will help BMX Freestyle become one of the most popular sporting disciplines in the world.”