It had been a few years since I’d attended a FISE event. It’s something that’s pretty difficult to sum up, but I’ll try and give it a go in the next few paragraphs.
With obvious links to the Olympic BMX Freestyle Park format in Tokyo 2020, FISE and UCI have crafted a series of events that aim to celebrate progressive BMX park riding in a proper serious, focused, high profile sporting spectacle. There are BMX riders who have become real-deal athletes, with serious training programs, sports federation backing, full-time salaries, plus various representatives from their respective countries there to check their performances and monitor the results from each event. It’s serious stuff.
But it’s also BMX. Things can’t all be crazy serious – we’ve still got Catfish on the mic, an awesome crowd providing a cracking atmosphere and suitable cheers and ‘oohs’ for flip tricks and transfers. Not to mention the other riders: when it’s time for the finals, every rider outside the top 12 is on the sidelines cheering on their mates and fellow countrymen… That noise and camaraderie continues into the best trick session. It’s still BMX after all.
The regulated side of things can’t be ignored, however. Cycling Federations the world over have invested serious cash in our little world of BMX in anticipation of next year’s olympics.
In the end, what we’re left with is an event that treads the balance – classic BMX contest fun VS the official olympic vibe. Personally, I think it manages it very well.