Maris Strombergs of Latvia kept a cool head in a heated Men's race to carve a narrow victory as BMX made its Olympic debut on Friday, August 22. Strombergs grabbed the decisive lead in the first corner and rode with smooth confidence to win the gold medal as rivals crashed in his wake. Americans Mike Day and Donny Robinson each avoided a costly spill in the second turn to win silver and bronze, respectively, in the eight-man final.
Anne-Caroline Chausson of France won the gold medal while pre-race favorite Shanaze Reade of Great Britain crashed out to finish last in the Women's race as BMX made its Olympic debut on Friday, August 21.Laetitia le Corguille of France avoided three pile-ups in the final to claim silver, while US athlete Jill Kintner edged Sarah Walker of New Zealand to score bronze.
Reade overcame a first-run crash in the semifinals to qualify for the
Maris Strombergs (Latvia) destroyed the American Olympic dream by winning the gold medal at the first ever Olympic BMX race. American Mike Day finished second and Donny Robinson (USA) got third. Current world champion Strombergs is a powerhouse and rode to the front on the first straight and never looked back giving Latvia its first gold medal of the 2008 Games. He rode a strong race where surprisingly noone crashed in the first turn. Rob van den Wildenberg (NED) had poor start and was waiting for a move which did not happen until turn two where Nhlapo, Graves and Godet crashed hard. This moved the Dutchman into 4th position but Jimenez had more speed coming out of the turn and overtook number 72 which resulted in a 5th place for Rob. Congrats to Christian van den Groenendaal, owner of ONE Bicycles on the Olympic Gold.
The women's race was a great battle between Ann-Caroline Chausson and Shanaze Reade. Both riders had one color in mind and that was gold. They changed postions on the track a few times
There has not been a race where noone crashed it seems like. All of them are diving in that first turn at full speed. Some elbows are thrown and going over the first turn and that speed ain't pretty. Just ask Cristian Becerine about it who experienced that 5 minutes ago.
Mike Day still looks strong and so does Strombergs, ACC and Laetitia le Corguille. Reade finished second in heat two and is still in the running for a spot in the finals. Rob van den Wildenberg finished second and has a total of 5 points. Great racing from the Dutchman. Raymon van der Biezen had a strong start and got to the first turn in second position but there was some traffic there which put him back a few spots. Lieke Klaus finished a lucky 4th but still has chances to make it through.
Under perfect weather conditions the semi finals have started over in Beijing, China at the summer Olympics. Favorites Mike Day, Maris Strombergs, and Ann Caroline Chausson each won their first semi-final heat. Other women favorite Shanaze Read (UK) crashed out on the first straight while in first position and limped back to the finish line. She has some work to do but by the way she is riding it will be an easy task for her as long as she stays on the bike. She has now crashed twice in two days. One more crash and it is over for her.
The Dutch riders had some bad luck. Lieke Klaus rode over Reade's legs in the first turn while being in third but lost her speed to finish 5th. Raymond van der Biezen crashed in the first turn where Marc Willers went out of control. Best finish was of Rob van den Wildenberg who got third in the other semi. The girls have lined up for their second race already.
Okay, I wasn't expecting a reply from the only two Dutch BMX racers that are in the next round so quick. After Rob van den Wildenberg answered some questions, we also got a mail out of Beijing, China from fellow Dutch semi finalist Raymon van der Biezen. Both are going to get on that track this night again to try to make it to the finals. They have to race three times in the semi final and the four racers with the lowest score will make it to the finals.
Raymon was flying in the time trials and did well in the first two rounds of the quarter finals. In quarter final number three he crashed in the first turn while in the lead but got up quick enough to finish fifth which transfered him into the semis with 10 points. With the NOC providing wireless access in the Olympic village for their athletes, the answers to the questions came in quickly. Just moments away from the next round we caught up with Raymon.
Not sure about you but I've been getting up at 3am the last two days to watch the Olympic BMX race live on TV. Heavy rain tonight was the reason to postpone the final events until tomorrow so tonight it's back up again at 3am to watch the Olympic Games live on TV. We managed to get in touch with Rob van den Wildenberg, one of Holland's semi-finalists who answered a few questions for FATBMX while waiting for his semi-finals tomorrow.
It's 3am right now. Got out of bed to go watch the Olympic BMX semi finals in Beijing but all I see on TV is marathon swimming and some athletic race. If the athletic run is an indication of the weather over there at the moment it is going to be an interesting BMX race. It is raining HARD which will make the BMX track so slippery that crashes are inevitable. It will be a gamble and staying on the bike will be key. Wait a minute. Just caught the last minute of an interview with BMX