Paris Olympics / Sport

BMX freestyle in Paris

A sport popular with fans of sensational action, freestyle BMX is set to be an exciting addition to the programme of the Olympic Games Paris 2024

Discover BMX freestyle, a spectacular sport on the programme of the Olympic Games Paris 2024: the origins of this urban sport, the rules, where to do it in Paris...

BMX freestyle: presentation of the discipline

BMX freestyle is inseparable from its celebrated elder sibling, BMX racing. Originatingin the 1960s in California, BMX racing is a bicycle race on a track - made up of rollers and jumps. The sport developed rapidly, and competitions were organized. At the end of the 1970s, in the United States, some riders - and, in particular, under the impetus of Bob Haro - became not only concerned with speed but also with performing tricks with their bikes over bumps. BMX freestyle was created.

This spectacular sport, where riders perform a number of tricks in the air, quickly became popular in the United States. Amateurs, and experienced in riders would meet up in skate parks, usually the preserve of skateboarders. They also took to the streets whose steps, railings and ramps, were particularly well-suited to tricks, **both technical and artistic. As with BMX racing, competitions were soon organized, firstly at local level and then internationally, with the creation of the first BMX Freestyle World Cup, in 2016.

Whilst BMX racing made its debut in 2008 in Beijing, in China, the Olympic history of BMX freestyle began in 2021 at the Tokyo Games, in Japan. 18 women and men athletes took part in this first edition.

At the Paris 2024 Games, 12 women and 12 men will compete in a skate park designed for BMX freestyle. The events will take place in two stages:

  • In the first stage, each competitor has two runs of one minute to perform the best tricks on the obstacles of the course. No one is eliminated. The objective is to get the best average in the two runs to finish at the top of the rankings and so have the right to go last during the final stage, an advantage that allows the top-ranked racer to observe their competitors before making their run.
  • In a second stage, in the final, competitors must also do two runs however only the best one of the two is taken into account to determine the ranking and decide the Olympic champions.

The score is awarded by five judges. The judges give a score between 0 to 100, on the basis of the quality of the runs according to a variety of criteria:

  • Difficulty of tricks
  • Range of jumps
  • Style of sequences
  • Execution of runs
  • Creativity

At the Olympic debut, in Tokyo, of BMX freestyle, British woman Charlotte Worthington was the Gold medallist, in the women’s event, and the AustralianLogan Martin, Gold medallist, in the men’s event. In Paris, they are again favourites in the event, but the competition is stiff! Kieran Reilly, world champion in 2023 for Great Britain, is an athlete to watch, as is the American Hannah Roberts, undisputed leader in the women's category, five-time winner of the World Championships, including in 2023.

In terms of equipment, a BMX bike is not the same as a mountain bike or a classic town bike. Designed to be more mobile and manoeuvrable, it is smaller and has no gears. There's a bar on the rear wheels to rest your feet on when doing tricks, the handlebars are much higher, the wheels are smaller ... Everything is designed to optimize BMX riding.

Places to do BMX freestyle in Paris

© Stéphane Laure

Paris City Council provides many facilities for urban sporting activities. Some ten or so free skate parks, have been created throughout the capital. Some of them are outdoor, like the skate park in Parc Clichy Batignolles Martin Luther King (17th), others merge with the urban environment; there are ramps and pyramids in Place de la République (3rd), and the ‘Espace de glisse parisien 18’ (18th) offers 3,200 m² for these sports in the biggest covered space … in France!

And for those who would like to take freestyle BMX lessons, the Paris BMX Club offers fee-paying sessions for both adults and children, in the 14th and 18th arrondissements of Paris.

And as the Paris 2024 Games go beyond the sporting events, go along to SPOT24, our multipurpose venue dedicated to new Olympic disciplines. Situated close to the Eiffel Tower, SPOT24 presents an exhibition of objects from the Olympic Museum in Lausanne as well as original works, plus special events, battles, and introductory sport sessions devoted - among others - to BMX freestyle.

The BMX freestyle Olympic site for the Paris 2024 Games

© Paris 2024

Like other urban disciplines, such as breaking, BMX freestyle will be in the Place de la Concorde (8th) during the Paris Games, on 30 and 31 July 2024. The world’s top riders will meet in the heart of Paris, near to the Tuileries Gardens and outdoors in a temporary skate park created for the occasion.

Anthony Jeanjean, the French athlete to watch in the BMX freestyle

© Paris je t'aime

He has been gathering medals and is one of France's best chances at the Paris 2024 Games. Anthony Jeanjean is three times French champion (2019, 2020 and 2022) and a leader on the European BMX freestyle scene. Since the first edition of the European BMX freestyle park championships in 2019, Jeanjean has always been on the podium with three gold medals (2019, 2021 and 2022) and silver in 2023. At the 2022 World Championships, he finished second in the event. An extraordinary track record!

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