BMX racing will take place at the Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines BMX Stadium during the upcoming Paris Olympics. Read on for details about how the men's and women's competitions will work.

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

The fields for men's and women's BMX racing will each have 24 riders. Each country is limited to a maximum of three men and three women.

How does BMX racing work at the Olympics?

Each heat features up to eight riders on the course at one time. All riders start in designated gate positions with their front wheels placed against the gate. Once the starter gives the go-ahead to begin, the gate drops and the riders race through the course.

In one-run heats, results are determined by finishing order.

In three-run heats, riders are assigned points after each run based on their finishing order: one point for first place, two points for second place, and so on. After the third and final run, each rider's points are added together to get a combined score. Riders are then ranked by their combined scores. The fewer points a rider has, the better their ranking.

Races are rife with contact due to the nature of the sport, and therefore crashes can and do occur. Despite the obvious impact on times, those who do happen to crash can still earn points if they're able to finish. However, it's forbidden to force another rider off the track or intentionally make contact to impede another rider's progress.

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

The competition begins with the quarterfinals, in which three heats of eight riders compete in a three-run series. At the end of three runs, the 12 cyclists with the lowest point totals advance directly to the semifinals, and the riders ranked 13-20 move to a last-chance qualifier. In the last-chance qualifier, those eight riders race one time, and the top-four finishers advance to the semifinals.

In the semifinals, there are two heats of eight riders competing in a three-run series. At the end of three runs, the eight cyclists with the lowest point totals advance to the final.

In both the quarterfinals and the semifinals, riders are reseeded for the next heat according to time. If two or more riders are equal in points at the end of three runs, the times will be used to break the tie.

For the final, there is only one single run. The first rider to cross the finish line wins the gold medal.

Other cycling disciplines

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