UCI cuts 500m TT from Olympics Track Programme
Women's 500m TT and men's 'kilo' make way for BMX
The UCI has decided to drop the oldest event on the track programme at the Olympic Games to make way for BMX. The IOC allows individual sports to decide the events included within the sport's particular programme. The UCI has chosen to cut these 2 events to make way for BMX, from Beijing (2008) onwards.
The sprinter's events are seen by many as the 'blue ribband' of the track programme. The (men's) 'kilo' has been on the Olympic programme since the beginning of the modern Games in 1896. It is certainly the case that in any major Championship - such as Olympics, World Championships or Commonwealth Games, the time trial events draw large, informed crowds and provide intense excitement as each rider steps up separately to face the timekeeper.
Whilst the inclusion of BMX has been known since 2003, it was only at the Management Meeting of the UCI on 10th June that the decision about which events would have to go to make way for the BMX events was announced. Whilst the loss of any event is regrettable, news that these popular events have been chosen is of particular concern when velodromes struggle to entice spectators for other events on the programme. Arguments could be made to lose the keirin (too sanitised to reduce crashes), the madison (too complicated for spectators to follow), the points race (complicated to follow and can produce uneventful races).
Track cycling will be the poorer for this decision because the specialist sprinters will now only have the match sprint and the (similar) keirin events to concentrate on. It is perhaps questionable logic to make such a change, since the number of competitors will not be reduced as a result and the organising country will be required to provide additional facilities - a BMX circuit - with the accompanying expense.
Other major championships are not affected.
An online petition against this decision has been started by David Hoy, the father of current Olympic Kilo Champion, Chris. The petition can be signed online.
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