With all this talk about BMX Freestyle Park being added to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, we thought we needed some information from someone in the know. Cue Bart De Jong – a major industry mogul who worked all the way up from doing homemade zines and jams to now influencing some of the biggest changes in the world of BMX.
Check out the official info below…
– Bart, what’s your involvement in the Olympics?
“The Olympics are three years away so I’m not sure in what way I’ll be involved at that time in Tokyo in 2020. I started working for the UCI in May of 2016 as they needed help on the BMX Freestyle side. Hurricane, organiser of the FISE events, had struck a deal with the UCI to organise the UCI BMX Freestyle Park World Cups in 2016 and for the UCI, BMX Freestyle was a new discipline where they needed some advice, connections and guidance. I’m playing an advising role to the UCI where I bring feedback from the riders, the event organisers, and judges to lead BMX Freestyle in a fair direction. Since two weeks ago, that direction is now the Olympic Games in Tokyo.”
– What do you know so far about the general format? Teams? Individuals?
“BMX Freestyle Park received 18 spots in total. 9 for Men, and 9 for Women. Getting in the Olympics meant that the total number of athletes was not going to grow. Yes, we would have loved more riders in the Games, but that way more athletes in different cycling sports had to give up spots. It’s easier to take away 18 spots than 48, for instance. We were given the 18 spots by the IOC. It’s something we can start with. Most likely it will be 8-9 different countries per class so one rider per highest ranked nations but this has to be worked out yet and it is not definite.”
– Male and Female athletes. How will this work? Will they use the same course etc…?
“Yes, same course. Same number of riders. We currently use the two runs of one-minute, with both runs count system.”
“With some mutual respect and common sense, we’ll make things good.”
– Will the course be similar to a FISE park course? Same designers?
“We have a multiple year contract with Hurricane (FISE) to organise the UCI BMX Freestyle Park World Cup. It only makes sense to have a similar set-up at the Olympics if these events are used as qualification events for the 2020 Games in Tokyo. BMX Freestyle changes all the time and also course designs can have different obstacles in three years from now. When we get to Tokyo, the BMX Freestyle Park course has to be top notch and up to date. That’s what we’re shooting for.”
– UCI are obviously heavily involved. Will your judging panel be merging with the IOC?
“Judging will be a difficult part of the Olympics as it’s a tough job at each event. The judges will be picked by the UCI and will be the best and most respected judges available for the job in 2020. The UCI will be in charge of the contest organising for the IOC so we’ll have to work with their regulations but we’ll be taking care of the qualified and experienced judges.”
“When we get to Tokyo, the BMX Freestyle Park course has to be top notch and up to date. That’s what we’re shooting for.”
– Will there be qualifiers? How and when will these work?
“In February of 2018 the qualifying system will be announced. This has to be approved by several commissions first. The UCI has a qualification system in BMX Racing that can be looked into for Freestyle. It’s too early to say much but most likely the UCI BMX Freestyle Park World Cups and UCI Urban World Championships (including BMX Freestyle Park) will be events to score the Nation points in the years leading up to the Tokyo Games. According to the ranking the spots will be given out but more on this on a late stage.”