Event Dates: Saturday August 11 – Sunday August 12
Medal Events: 2
Athletes: 80 (50 men / 30 women)
The mountain bike competition at the Olympics in London will be very similar to mountain biking you might do at home…except it won’t be in the mountains. Much the same as with Beach Volleyball, the games in London isn’t particularly set to have this kind of competition as there isn’t a mountain range within 464 miles; the approximate distance between London and Bern Switzerland.
But that being said the Olympic committee has done a fantastic job creating what would be equivalent to a “road course” in auto racing. It’s got varied terrain and challenging ascents and descents, which can be even more treacherous.
Mountain Biking is yet another American sport that was wedged into the Atlanta games in 1996 and has managed to stick around since. As a sport it has grown significantly since its humble California beginnings in the 1970s and now has a massive following across the world. Europeans are known for their love of cycling in general, a la the Tour de France, but surely they were slow to gravitate to this wider wheeled, heavier design.
Unlike BMX racing where it’s a short track and the riders are divided into heats, the Mountain Bike competition is much more like a marathon than a sprint. Racers are set at the starting line in accordance with their world rank and the first rider to cross the finish line is the winner.
This is where a lot of the appeal will come in for many viewers; short, sweet, gratification. Whereas I understand that sprinters and swimmers may need time between competition events, it’s great to see an event happen and a winner be declared right then and there.
To see where to watch this or your other favorite sports, check out NBC’s coverage in your local area.
I hope you have enjoyed this preview of the 2012 London Olympics Cycling Mountain Bike event. Continue to check 8DaysAGeek for more previews of Olympic events.