BMX freestyle returns for its second appearance on the Olympic program. Read on for details about how the men's and women's contests will work at the Paris Games.

Which BMX freestyle discipline is contested at the Olympics?

There are multiple disciplines within BMX freestyle, but the only one contested at the Olympics is BMX park. It takes place on a course that includes features such as ramps, box jumps, walls and spines.

How many riders will compete in BMX freestyle at the Paris Olympics?

The fields for men's and women's BMX freestyle will each have 12 riders. Each country is limited to a maximum of two men and two women.

How does BMX freestyle work at the Olympics?

In each round of competition, riders complete two runs through the course. Each run lasts 60 seconds.

During their runs, riders will use obstacles on the park course to execute a variety of tricks. Each run will be scored by a panel of judges (explained in more detail below), and those results will determine the rankings.

How is BMX freestyle scored at the Olympics?

Judges score each run from 0-100 points based on "overall impression." Criteria considered by the judges includes:

  • Difficulty of tricks
  • Progression (landing a trick that's never been done before)
  • Variety of tricks
  • Creativity of tricks
  • Execution (e.g. when doing a Superman, the rider should extend their arms and legs fully)
  • Landing tricks cleanly (e.g. a rider putting their feet down would be an error)
  • Amplitude (height of the tricks)
  • Flow
  • Creative use of the course (finding unique lines)
  • Risk factor (level of danger inherent in the tricks)
  • Style (rider making tricks their own)

In the qualification round, riders will be ranked by the average score of their two runs. In the final, riders will be ranked by their best single-run score.

It's worth noting that scores are not standardized between different events. Each contest, and even each round, can end up with a different scoring "scale" based on a variety of factors. Essentially, each score serves as an anchor from which to compare other runs relative to it.

What is the competition format for BMX freestyle at the Olympics?

In the qualification round, 12 riders will be split into two separate heats. Each rider will complete two runs, and the average of their two runs will determine their overall score. The top-nine riders will advance to the final, where they will be seeded according to their overall scores.

In the final, the nine remaining riders compete in reverse order of seeding. (The top rider from the qualification round goes last for both sets of runs.) Each rider completes two runs, but only their best score is used in the final rankings. The rider with the highest single-run score wins the gold medal.

Other cycling disciplines

Learn the rules and competition formats for other cycling disciplines at the Paris Olympics.