Info found here at genes:
Beijing, China -- 05/15/2006
On the eighth month in 2008, the Summer Olympics will kick off
in Beijing, China, and BMX racing will make its Olympic debut.
The number eight is associated with prosperity in Chinese culture,
and many in the industry are hoping it's a good omen for them, too.
"I think the Olympics has the potential to generate a great deal of
interest in BMX in China," said Mo Moorman, director of marketing
and public relations at Pacific Cycle. "Of course, we'd like to see more
cycling events in the Olympics, but we're excited to see BMX racing
as a new sport for 2008."
The International Olympic Committee decides on which new disciplines to
add years before the games actually begin. The 2008 games will feature
BMX racing in men's and women's categories.
"There is no question there is quite a bit of attention being paid to BMX
from a new Olympic sport standpoint. It is already being spoken of as the
snow boarding of cycling and whenever the U.S. has the potential to do well
in something, America pays attention," said Doug Martin, BMX programs
director of USA Cycling. "I expect participation at all levels will definitely grow.
"It is no secret that within the 20-inch segment, BMX racing bikes and equipment
has been flat for a while. That said, we also know that categories ebb and flow
in this business and even before the Olympic announcement, that trend was shifting.
In addition, it is not just the 20-inch segment that will likely benefit. These things
usually have a nice ripple effect and can absolutely impact the business as a whole.
The more bike racing appears in print media and in America's living rooms,
the better for everyone," Martin added.
~ Curb Your Enthusiasm. ~
For Craig "Gork" Barrette, marketing director for Redline Bicycles,
the addition of BMX racing to the Olympic games adds legitimacy to
a sport long perceived as being for kids.
"For Redline, with us sponsoring the current national and
world champion, it is a big bonus. It has the potential to
put our brand and our star rider in the national limelight,"
Potential is the operative word. He's cautious to get overly
excited about the visibility when so much control is in the
hands of the TV networks.
"In my perfect dream scenario, the networks will realize that
BMX racing and its high speeds, big air and wild crashes is the
most exciting event in China. They'll air it on prime time and make
a big deal out of this American kid-made sport. Of course, we're
banking that Bubba Harris will be the USA's golden child and our
nation will take a liking to him as much as they did with Shaun
White during the winter games.
"But then, we also realize that BMX racing could be aired at 2 am.
and get as much media exposure as handball and synchronized swimming.
It's a roll of the dice. It could get mediocre coverage like mountain biking
has the last two times. But we're hoping not.
"Much of it also depends on how the TV networks portray or hype it.
With the right camera angles, a color commentator who knows the sport,
and good slow-motion and replays, BMX racing can be extremely exciting,"
~ Finding The Angles. ~
While there's no guarantee the Olympic momentum will usher in a new golden
age of BMX sales, companies like Shimano are positioning themselves to take
full advantage of the exposure that BMX in Beijing will bring to the sport.
After a seven-year absence, Shimano will bounce back into the BMX market
later this year with the DXR group, its third incarnation since the 70`s.
The company plans to release it this October, but hopes to
get final product out to sponsored riders by this summer's
BMX World Challenge Championships in Brazil.
"The Olympics is the purest form of competition. The best athletes
in the world take part in the Olympics. We want to be there for then
and help give them the technical edge to bring home the ultimate medal,"
said Dustin Brady, who handles marketing promotions at Shimano.
"DXR is about going fast and looking good. We want DXR to win the
Olympics and we are making products that will make it happen," he added.
New sponsorship opportunities are also becoming available.
Many believe that the United States, the birthplace of BMX,
is home to the best BMX athletes, but Barrette warns that
USA Cycling may be "resting on their laurels."
"They're taking American BMX for granted. Meanwhile, right
now Australia, Great Britain, Belgium, New Zealand, Germany,
the Netherlands, Argentina, Japan and even China have their
BMX programs in place with coaches and riders already picked.
They've begun preparation and are working toward their goals
of Olympic domination.
So far, USAC has talked with Bubba Harris and Mike Day,
but that's about it," Barrette said.
In an effort to not put "all their eggs in the USA basket,"
Redline Bicycles recently inked a deal with the German national BMX team,
and expects to sign sponsorships with other teams in the near future.
Mongoose, which already sponsors several top freestyle BMX riders
in China, recently signed a deal with the Chinese national BMX team.
~ Lingering Reservations. ~
Jim Ford, principal at Mirraco, said there is no downside to any
additional exposure that keeps BMX in the public consciousness.
Still, Ford tempers his excitement.
"More exposure is always better; however I think events
like the X-Games and the Dew Tour already do a great
job of promoting dirt jumping, street, park and vert,"
"They deserve our continued support as an industry because
they have played a major role in the growth of our sport.
"The politics and bureaucracy that is often associated with the
Olympics makes me wonder whether they can successfully pull
this off to the satisfaction of both the athletes and the viewers,"