FOLLOW UP TO: Compete in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics in Freestyle BMX

In 2017, I had put together some information on how you can be an Olympian at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. If you haven’t seen it, I’d recommend reading this first before continuing down below.

Did you read it? OK good. For those of you who have been sleeping under a rock, and is like “oh jeez, maybe I can do this”. Guess what…there’s still an opportunity. I reached out to BMX Freestyle Consultant for the UCI, Bart De Jong to answer my questions.

Bea: If there was a rider who can compete this year (2019) and earn enough points (ie, make podium at every stop for example), can they still qualify for the Olympics?

Bart: If a rider scores enough points to qualify their country for a spot in Tokyo it will be up to the federation to accept the spot first, and then decide who is going. If the single rider scores enough points to qualify his/her country during the qualification period (1 November 2018 – 11 May 2020), they’ll get a spot. It all depends on the results/scores. The results of the two highest ranked riders will be added, but one single rider possibly can score more points than two riders together.

Bea: Can a rider compete this year, and upset the entire system regardless of which country they’re from? Or is it too late?

Bart: It’s not too late to qualify but the qualifying period started back on 1 November 2018 in Chengdu so the first points have already been given out at the last World Cup of the season and the 2018 UCI World Championships. But plenty are coming up with a.o. the 6 best C1 results during the qualification period, National Championships of 2019, 6 best World Cup results, etc. (see qualification document below).

Bea: If you’re a rider who holds two passports, say one was USA and the other one was like Vietnam (just pulling a random country out), could someone “Eric Moussambani” it? If you’re not familiar, he was a swimmer from Equatorial Guinea, he swam for the first time less than a year before the Sydney Olympics. He gained entry to the Olympics without meeting the qualification requirements through a wildcard draw, which was to encourage participating in developing countries.

Bart: With only 9 spots available for Men as well as Women, we will not get in that situation where we have to fill up the spots to complete 9 riders per class. We’ve only got 9 per class and as it looks right now, we’ve got plenty of riders from many different countries competing for these spots. 38 girls entered the last World Cup from around 19 different countries. I have a feeling this number will only grow in the next year or two. Again, read the criteria document and you’ll learn how it’s done so we’ll have great riders in both classes in Tokyo.

(If you have two passports, you’ll have to decide which country you want to represent. It’s that country you will score points for (and only one country). It’s not possible to change countries mid-season and it’s complicated to change countries even after the year is up. There’s no priority given to any rider with two passports. )

Qualifying Doc:

There you have it! If you’re hiding talent somewhere, it’s still not too late. As it stands, below are the top 9 country rankings entering 2019 and the top two female riders in each country. Data from UCI.

1. United States

  • Perris Benegas
  • Hannah Roberts

2. Germany

  • Lara Lessmann
  • Jennifer Wohlrab

3. Spain

  • Teresa Fernandez-Miranda
  • Beatriz Ibanez

4. Switzerland

  • Nikita Ducarroz

5. Russian Federation

  • Elizaveta Posadskikh
  • EKaterina Kruglova

6. Chile

  • Valentina Perez

7. Japan

  • Oike Minato

8. Great Britain

  • Charlotte Worthington
  • Isobel Burrell

9. Australia

  • Caroline Buchanan
Photos provided by Bart De Jong

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