BMX freestyle is making its Olympic debut in Tokyo.

Just nine men and nine women will compete. Riders, individually via time-limited runs, execute tricks and jumps on and around a series of ramps, embankments, walls and other obstacles within a park course, earning points based on difficulty and execution.

The Olympic BMX freestyle discipline is park, as opposed to other variations of the sport such as flatland, street, trail and vert.


The men's and women's seeding phases or heats take place on the first of two days of competition in BMX freestyle.

Each rider completes two (2) 60-second (1-minute) runs in reverse order of their world ranking, i.e., highest ranked goes last, and upon completion are given a total score from 0.00 to 99.99 – an average of the five judges' individual scores – on the difficulty and execution of their performances.

The results determine the seeding order for the finals.


The men's and women's finals follow a day later. Similar to the seeding format, each rider that successfully advanced again makes two (2) 60-second (1-minute) runs in reverse order of his or her score from the seeding phases.

This time, only the best of the two scores counts as the final score. The rider with the best single score wins the gold medal. Scores are judged in the same manner as for the seeding phase.

Tactics are employed in both phases, but more so in the final – because the runs are separate, if a rider does poorly in the first they have a second to fall back on. Additionally, some start with a conservative run so they can follow up with an all-in effort in the second, and those ranked best and competing last are able to see how riders before them fared and take that into consideration.


Twenty-four men and 24 women will compete. Up to eight per race maneuver, for less than a minute, an off-road circuit about 400 meters long with jumps, hills and banked turns. 

In-competition race rankings that determine who advances to the next phase are based on both time – which ultimately decides who wins each race – and points – gathered through the runs process.

The first part of the race is crucial, as the initial leader gains an incredible advantage with the ability to block trailing riders.


The first of two competition days solely comprises the men's and women's quarterfinals, which feature four siloed heats of six riders each racing one another over three rounds of runs.

Quarterfinal seeding is based on individual world rankings. This differs from the 2016 Olympics in Rio where positioning was determined by a seeding round prior to the quarterfinals.

Points are awarded for placement in each run, with 1 for first, 6 for last. Rankings over the runs are totaled, and the top four lowest combined from each heat, 16 overall, advance to the semifinals.

DNFs equate to a score of the number of riders in the run.


  1. Best rank in run 3
  2. Best rank in run 2
  3. Best rank in run 1
  4. Gate selection (seeding) order of run 1

The last of two competition days includes both the men's and women's semifinals and finals. The semifinals feature two siloed heats of eight riders each, again racing one another over three rounds of runs. Quarterfinal results determine rider distribution, e.g., Nos. 1 and 4 in one heat, Nos. 2 and 3 in the other heat.

Following a format similar to the quarterfinals, points from the three runs are totaled and the four riders with the lowest combined from each heat, eight overall, advance to the final.

DNFs and tiebreakers are also the same as the quarterfinals.


A single run with the final eight riders.

First to finish gets gold. Silver and bronze to second and third.

Mountain biking


Mass starts of 37 riders each will cover the 2.5-mile (4.1-kilometer) men's and women's off-road course in about an hour and 20 minutes and about an hour and a half, respectively.

The Olympic mountain-bike discipline is cross-country, as opposed to downhill or slalom, and features mostly narrow dirt trails with rocky sections and sudden changes in elevation. The Izu Mountain Bike Course's 150-meter vertical height difference is expected to be more difficult than previous Olympic courses.

There are no preliminary or qualifying races, just a final.

Riders are positioned in the starting grid according to their current world ranking to grant higher-ranked riders a front-line edge.

Competitors typically must complete multiple laps of a circuit. After the first, riders 80% slower than the current leader are eliminated.

Medals are awarded to the first three riders across the finish line.



Road race

Mass starts of 130 and 67 riders will cover the 151.6- (244-) and 91.3-mile (147-kilometer) men's and women's courses in about six hours and about three and a half hours, respectively.

For the first time in Olympic history, instead of a circuit-style format, the men's and women's courses will have different start and finish points – from Tokyo's Musashinonomori Park through the prefectures of Kanagawa and Yamanashi to Shizuoka's Fuji International Speedway. Drastic changes in elevation make Tokyo's course more difficult than previous Olympic iterations.

There are no preliminary or qualifying races, just a final.

Countries are limited to five participants for men and four for women. Italy and the Netherlands met the maximum five- and four-person quotas for both races. Also securing the limits: Belgium, Colombia, France and Spain on the men's side; and Australia, Germany and the United States on the women's side.

Competitors from the same nation can work together as a team, focus on individual performances or try a bit of both.

Medals are awarded to the first three riders across the finish line.

Time trial

Staggered, 90-second interval starts of 40 and 25 individual riders will cover the 27.5- (44.2-) and 13.7-mile (22.1-kilometer) courses in about an hour and about a half-hour, respectively.

The circuit at Fuji International Speedway is 13.7 miles (22.1 km) long, therefore it's two laps for the men, one lap for the women.

There are no preliminary or qualifying races, just a final.

Countries are limited to two participants in each men's and women's events. Australia, Germany and the United States met the maximum two-person quotas for both time trials. Also securing the limits: Belgium, Estonia, Great Britain, Italy, New Zealand, Portugal and Switzerland on the men's side; and Canada and the Netherlands on the women's side.

Unlike the road race's mass start and tactical positioning, time trial riders individually race the clock alone on the course.

The rider that finishes the course in the fastest time is the winner, and silver and bronze are awarded to second and third fastest.



The keirin, pronounced "kay-rin," is an individual event originally popularized in Japan. The men's and women's races are identical in format: a mass-start sprint of 1.5 kilometers (0.93 miles), or six laps, in distance, lasting about two minutes. Up to seven riders per race draft behind a pacing motorcycle that gradually accelerates from 30 to 50 kilometers per hour (18.6 to 31.1 mph), pulling off the track with three laps to go, leaving the riders in a dash for the finish. The rider who crosses the finish line first wins.

New to the Olympic format since Rio's conclusion: the number of laps, decreased from eight to six, and the motorcycle pulling off with three laps remaining rather than just two and a half.

A maximum of 30 men and 30 women will compete in Tokyo, up from 27 on each side at the 2016 Olympics in Rio.

The semifinal stage and an altered progression between stages are new additions to the Olympic format since Rio's conclusion.

First round

The field of up to 30 riders is split into five heats of six, distributed based on UCI world rankings, and any compatriots are separated.

The top two riders in each heat advance to the second round. The rest enter the repechage or "second chance" bracket, split into four heats of five riders, where the top two in each heat advance.

Second round

The 18 to advance – 10 from the first round and eight from its repechage phase – are divided into three heats of six each. The top four in each heat advance to the semifinals. No repechage.


The 12 to advance to this stage, are divided into two heats of six riders each. The top three in each heat advance to the final.


The final six compete in a single run to determine the winner. First, second and third get gold, silver and bronze, respectively.


Women's Madison makes its Olympic debut, while the men's event returns for the first time since the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.

A team event, pairs of men's and women's riders relay one another at-will by a touch of the hand or shorts for 50 (31.1) and 30 kilometers (18.6 miles), equal to 200 and 120 laps, for slightly less than an hour and slightly more than a half-hour, respectively.

Hand-slings and pushes are also sometimes utilized to transfer.

Teams earn points by winning or placing high within a sprint every 10 laps, and the team with the most cumulative points wins gold.

A maximum of 16 men's teams of two, the same as Beijing's field, and 16 women's teams of two will compete in Tokyo.


Points are rewarded after intermediary sprints, every 10 laps – five points for first place, three for second, two for third, and one for fourth. Those point allocations are doubled for the final sprint at the end. Any team that gains a lap on the main field is awarded 20 points, and a team losing a lap is deducted 20 points.

Teams' final sprint placements break any potential ties.


An individual multi-race event favoring endurance riders, the omnium consists of four races held over the duration of one day in the following order for both men and women:

  1. Scratch race
  2. Tempo race
  3. Elimination race
  4. Points race

That format is down from six races within the omnium's program at the 2016 Olympics in Rio, with the addition of the tempo race and removal of the individual pursuit, time trial and flying lap.

Riders are awarded points for their finishes in each race. For the first three races, they earn 40 points for a win, 38 points for second place, 36 for third, etc. The points race entails mid-race scoring via sprint intervals. A tally at the end determines the rider with the most cumulative points, crowing them the winner.

In the scratch race, riders start together and race to the finish; in the tempo race, making its debut in Tokyo, the leading rider accumulates points for winning laps; in the elimination race, the last rider is eliminated every two laps; and in the points race, the longest of the four, riders are awarded points along the way.

A maximum of 21 women and 20 men will compete in Tokyo, up from 18 on both sides at the 2016 Olympics in Rio.

Scratch race

Mass start with a classic, first-to-the-finish style format. Men's and women's races are 10 kilometers (6.2 miles), or 40 laps, in about 10 minutes and 7.5 kilometers (4.7 miles), or 30 laps, for about nine minutes, respectively. Tactics include riders surging to unsettle the pace or hugging the pack to conserve energy.

Tempo race

Mass start with race emphasis on the leader. Men's and women's races are, like the scratch race, 10 kilometers (6.2 miles), or 40 laps, in about 10 minutes and 7.5km (4.7 miles), or 30 laps, in about nine minutes, respectively. Starting at the end of the fifth lap, one point is awarded to the rider in first place at the end of each lap. In addition to that scoring, a rider gaining a lap on the field scores 20 points, while a rider losing a lap loses 20 points. Sprints are conducted every lap after the first four.

Elimination race

Mass start with a race emphasis on avoiding last place. No set distance or time for either men's and women's events, which take about 11 minutes each. Every two laps (500 meters), the last rider crossing the line is eliminated until one rider remains.

Points race

Men's and women's races cover 25 kilometers (15.5 miles), or 100 laps, in about 30 minutes and 20 kilometers (12.4 miles), or 80 laps, in about 25 minutes, respectively. An intermediate sprint occurs every 10 laps – five points for first place, three for second, two for third and one for fourth at each increment. Points awarded in the last sprint are doubled. A rider gaining a lap on the field scores 20 points, while a rider losing a lap loses 20 points.

Points accumulated by the riders over the first three events, according to the points scale being used, are added up. During the fourth and final race, the points race, this total then fluctuates based on a rider's performance. The winner is the rider who has the highest total of points at the end of the points race. 


Men's and women's individual sprint events play out similarly. Riders are matched up head-to-head and generally pedal far below full speed at the start before beginning a sudden sprint or reacting to an opponent's. Each race takes about two minutes.

A maximum of 30 men and 30 women will compete in Tokyo, up from 27 each at the 2016 Olympics in Rio.


Each sprint entrant completes three laps (750 meters), with only the final 200 meters being timed. The 24 fastest are then seeded based on their times, advancing to a tournament-style contest, and the remaining six or so riders on each side are eliminated.

First round

The field of 24 cyclists proceeds to the 1/32 finals or first round and are divided into 12 one-on-one matchups, with the fastest qualifiers racing the slowest, e.g., Nos. 1 vs. 24, Nos. 2 vs. 23. The first rider to cross the finish line after three laps wins.

The 12 winners advance to the second round.

The losers enter a repechage phase or "second chance" bracket featuring four heats of three riders each. The four winners get new life and advance, and the eight losers are eliminated.

The 1/32 finals is new to the Olympic format competition.

Second round

Sixteen riders comprising the 12 first-round winners and four first-round repechage winners compete in the 1/16 finals or second round, divided up into eight one-on-one matchups.

The eight winners advance to the third round.

The losers enter to this round's repechage phase, which includes four heats of two riders each. The four winners get new life and advance, and the four losers are eliminated.

Third round

Twelve riders comprising the eight second-round winners and four second-round repechage winners compete in the 1/8 finals or third round, divided up into six one-on-one matchups.

The six winners advance to the quarterfinals.

The losers enter this round's repechage phase, the last of the tournament, contested as two heats of three riders each. The two winners get new life and advance, and the four losers are eliminated. A four-up race for places 9-12 is no longer contested.


The eight remaining competitors are divided into four one-on-one matchups decided by a best-two-of-three races battle.

The four winners advance to the semifinals, and the losers ride later in a four-up classification race for places 5-8.


The four quarterfinal winners comprise the semifinal field. The two matches are again decided by a best-two-of-three races format.

Bronze-medal final

The semifinal losers contest a best-two-of-three races match. Bronze goes to the winner; the loser is fourth.

Gold-medal final

The semifinal winners contest a best-two-of-three races match. Gold goes to the winner; the loser takes silver.

Team Pursuit

Two four-person teams start at opposite ends of the track and cover 4,000 meters (2.5 miles), or 16 laps, taking the men's and women's teams about four minutes and about four and a half minutes to finish, respectively. A team can win two ways: by completing the distance before the other team, marked by its third rider’s front wheel crossing the finish line, or the less common method of "making the catch" and overtaking an opponent.

Teamwork is vital as each member of the four-person teams takes a turn leading one to two laps before falling to the rear, spreading the workload out. Only three cyclists need to finish per team.

Qualifying round

Each of the eight teams completes one run. In order to compete for gold, teams need to finish in the top four.

First round

Teams are matched up according to their times in the qualifying round: Nos. 6 vs. 7, Nos. 5 vs. 8, Nos. 2 vs. 3 and Nos. 1 vs. 4.


The winners of the final two heats, all initially ranked fourth or better, race each other for the gold medal. The remaining six teams are ranked on time, with the two fastest racing for bronze. The next two fastest race for fifth, and the last two race for seventh.

Team Sprint

On the men's side, two three-person cyclist teams cover three laps (750 meters) for slightly more than 40 seconds, and on the women's side, two two-person cyclist teams cover two laps (500 meters) for about 32 seconds. Team leaders peel away each lap.

A team finishes when its final rider crosses the finish line.

After a qualifying round based on fastest times, eight teams make up the field on both the men's and women's sides and are divided into four head-to-head matchups, which determine medal races.

Tiebreaker is the final lap split.

Qualifying round

Teams complete a timed run, forming the first-round matchups.

First round

Matchups are based on the rankings of teams' qualifying times – Nos. 1 vs. 8, Nos. 2 vs. 7, Nos. 3 vs. 6 and Nos. 4 vs. 5.

Medal races

The two fastest teams regardless of rank advance to the gold medal race, while the next two compete for bronze, i.e., to have a shot at gold a winning team needs a fast first-round race.