The BMX bike has enjoyed a remarkable rise to fame. Thought to have originated in southern California nearly 40 years ago and now taking its place across the world in China's hosting of the Olympic Games is nothing short of astonishing.
BMX or bicycle motocross to give its full name has become an Olympic sport for the first time in 2008. BMX bikes first burst onto the scene in the early seventies and have grown in popularity ever since, culminating in this year's debut appearance at the Beijing Olympic Games.
Growing interest in extreme sports generally has clearly helped this two wheeled (in particular where freestyle is concerned) success story. Video game culture has also encouraged interest with a string of BMX titles in recent years, some of which I have enjoyed playing myself. The positive sales figures from these games, in turn making some riders household names and celebrities, far beyond what could have been imagined when kids first started asking Santa Claus for a BMX at Christmas.
Relatively small and easy to manoeuvre and with a host of off road places to ride, the BMX is very versatile with both freestyle and racing versions of the sport competing to high levels pretty much world wide.
In June 2008, 45 spots were awarded to 17 nations for the Elite men category and 11 nations in the Elite women category for the Beijing Games. This year its only the racing side of BMX that the Olympics is hosting but it is probably only a matter of time as the BMX profile goes from strength to strength before the sport enjoys even more events and exposure at future Games.
Wednesday 20th and Thursday 21st August 2008 were the dates all BMX fans worldwide were looking forward to as their beloved sport made its bow at the Olympics with qualifying, seeding and quarter final runs all taking place for both men and women on day one.
So it's welcome to the Olympic Games for all things BMX. The wheels are showing no signs of slowing down, let alone falling off.
An amazing rise in popularity for the humble BMX bike as it takes its place on the Olympic rostrum