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  1. #1
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    DH MTB as an Olympic Sport

    I am primarily a cross country mountain biker when there's no snow and when there is, it's all downhill skiing but I have been seriously considering getting into downhill mountain biking. With the Olympics starting last night (at Whistler nonetheless), it got me to thinking: Why is downhill mountain biking not an Olympic sport?

    Snowboarding became an Olympic sport in all of its variations recently, aerial skiing is one, and cross country mountain biking is one.

    I know that the next summer games are still two years or so out but I am surprised that DH has not been adopted as one yet. Does anyone here think that it will become one in the future? Does anybody know if there is a push for it on the level of the International Olympic Committee? I don't know about anybody else, but I think that it would be awesome if the downhill iteration of mountain biking was adopted into the realm of the Olympics.
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  2. #2
    PTP
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    It will probaly never happen mainly because UCI does not support it as much as road and xc. I wish it would hapen but the old conservitave UCI will never put DH up to what they value xc and road at.

  3. #3
    clyde in training
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    I would love to see it but I doubt it would happen. The only reason the US pushed for snowboarding so hard was because we knew we would dominate it. Plus with it becoming so popular in the last few years, more countries have adopted it. Also, the winter games are usually hurting for more events whereas the summer games have plenty to choose from. I don't think DH would get much support from the US for obvious reasons. haha

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    1. you need a mountain close to the venue...not all summer olympic venues have this. imagine if chicago got the 2016 venue bid...wouldnt be that great for downhill. even if the sport were more popular...this reason alone would keep DH out of the olympics.
    2. some argue downhill has more technology involved than traditional olympic sports. road and xc bikes are relatively the same across the board....where as there are many different styles and designs to downhill bikes that it may be considered as an advantage or disadvantage.

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    Quote Originally Posted by brillantesdv
    1. you need a mountain close to the venue...not all summer olympic venues have this. imagine if chicago got the 2016 venue bid...wouldnt be that great for downhill. even if the sport were more popular...this reason alone would keep DH out of the olympics.
    2. some argue downhill has more technology involved than traditional olympic sports. road and xc bikes are relatively the same across the board....where as there are many different styles and designs to downhill bikes that it may be considered as an advantage or disadvantage.
    Both of those issues could easily be worked around and have been worked around with similar issues of the past new sports that have been introduced in both winter and summer games. Dh races have been held on lesser venues worldwide, some to great success. The technology argument is easy to argue against, as any alpine skiing/snowboarding event uses as much if not more technology poured into the equipment as bikes do. The millions invested in the development of equipment of any olympic sport threw that "tradition" or "spirit of the game" argument out the window a long time ago in my opinion, which isn't necessarily a bad thing.

    The big reason that dh will never be an olympic sport is simply because we, as dh'ers, represent such a small portion of the overall cycling population. Road and xc are easily identifiable to the average joe watching the olympics and represent a far larger portion of cycling community, which ultimately helps the average viewer relate to the sport they are watching. Plus, as someone mentioned earlier, the UCI would never push for it or support it. To the outside observer looking in on the UCI they'd never even know dh racing existed beyond a "fad" sport.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by PTP
    It will probaly never happen mainly because UCI does not support it as much as road and xc. I wish it would hapen but the old conservitave UCI will never put DH up to what they value xc and road at.
    I've thought about that too but things like snowboard half-pipe and aerials skiing are not terribly conservative sports either.
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  7. #7
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    I read an article about this once. It also mentioned 4x.

    From what I can remember I think there is a limited number of entries that can be in each group of events or something similar. Basically though it's not that it wouldn't be easy to add, it's that they'd have to get rid of other cycling events or reduce numbers to make room for it. I doubt they'd want to cut any of the current events. Track must make them an absolute mint in tickets, and I can't see them getting rid of road cycling or cross country.

  8. #8
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    i'm good with just the world cup. No need for the olympics.

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    No need for the olympics? The olympics is the holy grail of all sporting events it would be great for our sport if we could someday be able to compete on that scale. I think it is very possible to one day have DH mountain biking in the olympics, especially in the way it has been gaining popularity the past several years. I have never seen so much activity in the dh world as far as races like the Red Bull Favela race, and collegiate racing in the states, and particularly the growth of local riders in my lowly state of Georgia, really the whole south east. If the world doesn't end in 2012, I think in the next 20 years you can expect to see us at the olympics. Thats just my 2 cents, maybe i am an optimist.

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    My grandfather (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raymond_Gafner) (RIP) was a member of the IOC in Switzerland and addressed the issues of which sports would become events and which would not. He was also on the committee that decided which country will host the events. He saw that sports such as XC MTB and other extreme sports were becoming very popular with the younger crowd as well as it being a major resource of funds. (Remember the amount of $$$$ that countries have to pay to host). He was a true believer of the "original" sports (ice hockey, luge, etc) but helped in the progress we see today of extreme sports. He saw it was a logical progress to the Olympics.

    For a sport to become an Olympic event, the majority of countries out there have to participate in it or at least have to recognize it as a sport. Now, during the games, you will see countries such as Jamaica participating in bob sledding, etc and think (at least I do) where do they practice? Well, "majority" does not mean all countries so if 80% of the countries out there can or do participate in the sport, it becomes an Olympic event. I believe that DH MTB will become an Olympic sport as did XC in 1996 in Atlanta. Its just a matter of time.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seeds
    He was a true believer of the "original" sports (ice hockey, luge, etc)

    For a sport to become an Olympic event, the majority of countries out there have to participate in it or at least have to recognize it as a sport. Now, during the games, you will see countries such as Jamaica participating in bob sledding, etc and think (at least I do) where do they practice? Well, "majority" does not mean all countries so if 80% of the countries out there can or do participate in the sport, it becomes an Olympic event. I believe that DH MTB will become an Olympic sport as did XC in 1996 in Atlanta. Its just a matter of time.
    I'd hardly call luge an original event. It's one of the most recent to be added to the olympics but anyways.

    I'm confused by the second bit. There a quite alot of sports that don't have any real participation for alot of countries.

  12. #12
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    The snowboard analogies are a little misplaced. Snowboarding is ORDERS OF MAGNITUDE bigger than downhill. It'll be a longgggggggggggg time before DH is in the olympics, long time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dheorl
    I'd hardly call luge an original event. It's one of the most recent to be added to the olympics but anyways.

    As far as a time scaling...yes. When I mean original...I mean sports that were represented in the past 50-100 years.

    I'm confused by the second bit. There a quite alot of sports that don't have any real participation for alot of countries.
    Your right. They do not participate in them, yet it is not that they cannot participate, its that they may chose not too.

    Its a weird thing. Take for instance a summer sport (which DH MTB would be categorized as). Lets say Basket Ball. Now, basketball is played in a majority of countries and is popular on many continents. But, if you look at the domineering teams, they are majority USA participants. AKA...the dream team in 1996, etc and that is where it is mostly seen on TV. So..since the USA is a large country, it becomes a sport.

    Soccer, as popular as basketball but in Europe and other places but not so much in the USA. Same thing..a majority rule.

    Each country has its dominant sport as we have seen in the past as well as a following. If the following is big enough (population wise) and financially acceptable (funds)...i becomes a sport. But it doesn;t mean every country will participate.

    MTB is a sport that can be practiced ALL around the world as we have see in the US, Europe, Middle East, Canada, etc. Across the world we bike and in some countries it a major form on commuting. As such, it became an Olympic Event. DH either has to attract that attention (on all levels) to become an Event...but I can see it happening. I remember when XC wasn't a sport and people we pushing for it for years. Didn't seem like it would but it did.

    AND WTF....CURLING!?!?! DH has a chance.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dheorl
    I'd hardly call luge an original event. It's one of the most recent to be added to the olympics but anyways.
    As far as a time scaling...yes. When I mean original...I mean sports that were represented in the past 50-100 years.

    I'm confused by the second bit. There a quite alot of sports that don't have any real participation for alot of countries.
    Your right. They do not participate in them, yet it is not that they cannot participate, its that they may chose not too.

    Its a weird thing. Take for instance a summer sport (which DH MTB would be categorized as). Lets say Basket Ball. Now, basketball is played in a majority of countries and is popular on many continents. But, if you look at the domineering teams, they are majority USA participants. AKA...the dream team in 1996, etc and that is where it is mostly seen on TV. So..since the USA is a large country, it becomes a sport.

    Soccer, as popular as basketball but in Europe and other places but not so much in the USA. Same thing..a majority rule.

    Each country has its dominant sport as we have seen in the past as well as a following. If the following is big enough (population wise) and financially acceptable (funds)...i becomes a sport. But it doesn;t mean every country will participate.

    MTB is a sport that can be practiced ALL around the world as we have see in the US, Europe, Middle East, Canada, etc. Across the world we bike and in some countries it a major form of commuting. As such, it became an Olympic Event. DH either has to attract that attention (on all levels) to become an Event...but I can see it happening. I remember when XC wasn't a sport and people we pushing for it for years. Didn't seem like it would but it did.

    AND WTF....CURLING!?!?! DH has a chance.

  15. #15
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    uci can't get any cohesion with its riders on clothing (skinsuit ban) let alone have it presentable as an olympic possibility. it's too bad really.
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  16. #16
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    I think mtn biking should start with a slope style course like at cranxworks.. that wouldn't take too much and you could watch the whole thing..
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  17. #17
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    The UCI brings out enough stupid rules without the IOC :P
    Until the UCI gets its act together we wont be seeing DH in the olympics for a long long time.
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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seeds
    As far as a time scaling...yes. When I mean original...I mean sports that were represented in the past 50-100 years.



    Your right. They do not participate in them, yet it is not that they cannot participate, its that they may chose not too.

    Its a weird thing. Take for instance a summer sport (which DH MTB would be categorized as). Lets say Basket Ball. Now, basketball is played in a majority of countries and is popular on many continents. But, if you look at the domineering teams, they are majority USA participants. AKA...the dream team in 1996, etc and that is where it is mostly seen on TV. So..since the USA is a large country, it becomes a sport.

    Soccer, as popular as basketball but in Europe and other places but not so much in the USA. Same thing..a majority rule.

    Each country has its dominant sport as we have seen in the past as well as a following. If the following is big enough (population wise) and financially acceptable (funds)...i becomes a sport. But it doesn;t mean every country will participate.

    MTB is a sport that can be practiced ALL around the world as we have see in the US, Europe, Middle East, Canada, etc. Across the world we bike and in some countries it a major form of commuting. As such, it became an Olympic Event. DH either has to attract that attention (on all levels) to become an Event...but I can see it happening. I remember when XC wasn't a sport and people we pushing for it for years. Didn't seem like it would but it did.

    AND WTF....CURLING!?!?! DH has a chance.

    I think luge was introduced more recently than 50 years ago.

    I kinda got lost in that second bit, seemed like a bit of a ramble without much content. What are you actually trying to say. All the countries in the world can participate in all the sports if they want.

  19. #19
    BH1
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    If BMX is in the Olympics, I dont see why DH is that far off, or at least a possibility. At the World Cup level DH has a fairly large pull with crowds and sponsors. I think it could see the Summer Olympics one day.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by BH1
    If BMX is in the Olympics, I dont see why DH is that far off,
    Maybe because BMX is orders of magnitude more popular/common?

  21. #21
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    Having DH mountain biking as an olympic sport would be epic. The last battle

    it would be the thing to catapult our great sport into a more mainstream society.

    it will become a reality(eventualy) I agree with what 53119 says we need to get uci straightened out first
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  22. #22
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    +1. It would be wonderful to have DH mountain bike parks sprout up because it would be an Olympic event.

    Sports can become demonstration sports in the Olympics. Maybe the UCI would be up for that first. Just dreamin...

    Quote Originally Posted by ridefreeride
    Having DH mountain biking as an olympic sport would be epic. The last battle

    it would be the thing to catapult our great sport into a more mainstream society.

    it will become a reality(eventualy) I agree with what 53119 says we need to get uci straightened out first

  23. #23
    hmmmm
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    this thread always seems to pop up when the Olympics are going on (hmmm I wonder why..), and the same conclusion is generally reached..... need UCI to get its act together and treat DH like it does the rest of cycling.

    hopefully we will see it at some point, but probably not soon... more popularity in the US couldn't hurt.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gemini2k05
    Maybe because BMX is orders of magnitude more popular/common?
    i feel like you make a good point here. Sports like BMX and snowboarding are WAY more common than DH MTB (a good test of this is to ask anyone you know who doesn't ride mountain bikes if they've heard of DH. most of the time they'll say "so you just ride a bike downhill?")

    However, maybe I'm an outlier but I would have never heard of the luge, or skeleton, or bobsledding if it weren't for the Olympics. Do people do these things outside of the Olympics and Olympic training? Hell, I hadn't even heard of skeleton until literally two days ago. Are there luge resorts in Europe? Am I just ignorant? I don't think I live under a rock, but I feel like if they weren't olympic events, luge and skeleton would be just as obscure as DH MTB. I could be wrong, of course, but I think there's something else at play here. Maybe it is, as someone mentioned, the huge difference in the number of summer games vs. winter games.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by ridefreeride
    Having DH mountain biking as an olympic sport would be epic. The last battle

    it would be the thing to catapult our great sport into a more mainstream society.
    And I think that would be the end of our sport.
    I think the only reason DH'ing has stayed alive this long is because it IS a fringe sport - if it were to "blow up" like snowboarding, or skateboarding, that would be it.
    Why do I think this?
    Think of the trail access issues we have now. Now imagine 10X the riders on the trails, especially the influx of new riders into the sport. I see trails closing.

    Remember - the only way it could be sustainable would be to have designated areas for it. Even Whistler, the Mecca, is bankrupt right now. Skateparks are relatively easy to build in urban centers and snowboarders just ride the ski hills. But DH'ing takes so much more money and resources.

    I just don't think its a good idea for it to become mainstream - in my view, it is already too mainstream. I don't mind new riders, but I don't think it would work out well, not with the way things are.

    I just have this image of a whole load of new riders maching down their local hiking trails and having trail after trail shut down.

    Maybe I am just seeing this in a negative light though. And I really don't give a $hit about the Olympics.

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