Men’s BMX Cycling Event: Competition Overview and Summary
As one of the most exciting events in the entire spread of Olympic events at the 2016 Rio games, the Men’s BMX Cycling Event drew huge crowds and lots of post event reporting as well due to a high profile crash in one of the heats. This was an event format involving seeding rounds, then Quarterfinals, then Semifinals, and finally the primary final round contest.
In the Quarterfinals, there were four primary heats which helped to narrow the competitive field down before moving into the Semifinal round. In the semifinals there were only two main heats instead of the four heat format in the quarterfinals, before executing the big event final round. The Men’s BMX Cycling event received massive reporting at one point in the event progression due to a huge and catastrophic wreck which took place in one of the qualifying rounds.
Essentially what had happened in the accident was that competitors Liam Phillips and David Graf got squeezed to the side boundary of the track, which normally wouldn’t be a big deal. The reason it went bad was mainly because as the two riders squeezed against the side, they did so right before being forced over a large jump at high speeds. Cruising along over the jump at nearly 40mph, both riders ended up turning over an slamming extremely hard onto their sides.
At that point the crash was already ugly, but the incident got even worse for Liam Phillips when another rider came through and smashed into Phillips after losing control. After being struck again, Liam was hurdled over the side of the track down a 10-foot drop onto the ground. Not only did this incident ruin Liam’s chances of victory, but it also sent him out of the competition venue on a stretcher to receive medical care.
Some of the elite riders in this Men’s BMX Cycling event at the 2016 Rio Olympics were rather critical of the riding course, saying there were certain problems and inadequacies in the construction and maintenance of the track overall. Hopefully this negative feedback will encourage Olympic planners to improve track and safety issues by the time the next summer games roll around.
Competitor Performances and Final Scores
Within the 2016 Rio Olympics Men’s BMX Cycling event, the level of excitement and competitive tension was quite high indeed. The massive collision and subsequent injuries definitely seemed to rattle the field of competitors to some degree, and there was an increased air of conservative riding after the wreck suffered most by Liam Phillips.
While this did happen, the intensity level was still high as international competitors raced hard to take home the gold for their respective nations. Pushing the envelope of both speed, and of technical and launch skills, the Men’s BMX Olympic Cycling event was a great showcase of the world’s foremost BMX athletes.
1st Place GOLD Medal – Connor Fields – United States:
Taking home the 1st place finish and the gold medal for the Unite States, Connor Fields had a phenomenal final round performance in Rio. In the finals, Connor was able to power through the track and hold top positions during the entire final round. One of his strongest riding points is that he is so consistent over the jumps and large gaps in the track, extending his hang time farther than many other competitors.
This kind of high level technical skill on a BMX bike that Connor Fields possess in spades really did help propel him to his gold medal victory at the 2016 Rio Olympic games. Connor’s final round scoring was 34.64s, which beat out the 2nd place runner up contender’s final scoring by a margin of about one point.
2nd Place SILVER Medal – Jelle van Gorkom – Netherlands:
Representing the Netherlands quite proudly at the 2016 Rio Olympic games was BMX professional Jelle van Gorkom. Jelle was able to bring home the silver medal and 2nd place finish in the Men’s BMX Cycling event, which he managed to do by an amazingly slight margin of only 0.2 points in total. This silver medal win by Netherlands athlete Jelle van Gorkom was likely made that much more exciting for him and his team, knowing how close he was to missing it.
Jelle has an outstanding ability to balance himself through the large, overarching bank turns in the track which really helped him maintain position through the hectic turns in this competition course. Finishing out his final round with a score of 35.31s, Jelle van Gorkom is definitely an athlete to watch as we move into the next major professional BMX competitions.
3rd Place BRONZE Medal - Carlos Ramirez – Colombia:
Sailing into 3rd place in the Men’s BMX Cycling event at the 2016 Rio Olympic games was BMX athlete Carlos Ramirez. Representing Colombia in the Rio BMX Cycling competition, Carlos Ramirez demonstrated exactly why he qualified to represent Colombia in the games. This is to say that he exhibited near flawless control during the competition, managing to avoid close-calls and near-collisions on multiple occasions.
Given the propensity for accidents and collisions in the BMX Cycling event, it makes sense that balance and collision avoidance were some of the most highly demanded skills in this contest. Those riders who had an exceptional track awareness like Carlos Ramirez turned out to be the riders that finished well, taking home the bronze medal. Finishing out the finals with a score of 35.51s, Carlos Ramirez certainly made his home country of Colombia very proud in his performance.