French riders will be hoping to finally achieve the same success in BMX racing on their home track at the Paris Olympics that they have long enjoyed at the world championships when the bikes hit the dirt at Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines in August.

Although the sport has its origins in California in the 1960s, BMX has been mastered by the French, who have amassed 50 gold medals in all classes at the world championships since 1982 — four more than the Americans.

At last year's worlds, there were five French men in the eight-rider final, and they swept the podium in a 1-2-3 finish through Romain Mahieu, Arthur Pilard and Joris Daudet.

Pilard only has been selected as a substitute, however, with coaches favoring 2018 world champion Sylvain Andre, who finished fourth in the Tokyo final alongside Mahieu (6th) and Daudet (7th).

"Competition is intense, but healthy," said the 31-year-old Andre. "And that's exactly what keeps us on our toes. For us older guys, it forces us to raise our minimum level of performance, it pushes us to stay in the game."

At the Olympics, France has only bagged two medals since the sport's debut in Beijing in 2008, notably missing out on a podium in Tokyo despite having three riders in the final.

"I've got the best team in the world but I can only take half of them to the Olympics," France coach Julien Sastre said. "We're not going to be picky in terms of which medal we can win, but we know we have to claim gold."

France does not dominate women's BMX in the same way, but Sastre believes world No. 18 Axelle Etienne can end up on the podium in a discipline dominated by Australia's Saya Sakakibara, who crashed heavily in Tokyo.

Sakakibara and her partner, France's Mahieu, share a dream of winning a gold medal apiece.

Another BMX racing contender will be 33-year-old Alise Willoughby, the American who picked up a silver in Rio and this year added to her two world titles from 2017 and 2019.

"I think that I've proven to myself and those around me that I'm still at the top of my game," she said. "I’m the most experienced I've ever been ... so, yeah. Longevity has been on my side."

Mariana Pajon, the "Queen of BMX," has slipped down the world rankings, but the Colombian will again be a rider to watch in Paris, having won the gold medal in London and Rio, as well as a silver in Tokyo.

"Every time I get on the bike, I do it with my heart and with the dream of raising the name of Colombia high," Pajon, 32, said. "These Olympic Games are a new opportunity to show that limits only exist in the mind."