Colorado Springs, Colo. (January 25, 2008)—USA Cycling and the United States Olympic Committee cut the ribbon on a new BMX training facility at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, Calif. on Monday, January 21. The USOC and the national governing body celebrated the opening of only the third permanent Supercross BMX track in the world. Even more importantly, the track, designed around the Beijing course, will serve as an ideal training ground for the U.S. National Team and Olympic hopefuls.
The event kicked off at noon pacific time and included a Q&A session with athletes, officials and coaches, as well as a ribbon cutting ceremony and a demonstration of the newest Olympic sport by those expected to contend for medals in Beijing. The project is a joint venture by USA Cycling and the USOC to provide and maintain a world-class training facility for American BMX athletes.
"The opening of the USA Cycling BMX training facility in Chula Vista highlights the importance of the close partnership between the USOC and USA Cycling in the continued development of the sport of BMX," said Steve Johnson, CEO of USA Cycling. “This facility not only represents the current state-of-the-art in BMX training centers, but will continue to evolve over time to keep pace with the rapid evolution of international BMX racing."
The course in Chula Vista was built by Tom Ritzenthaler, who also built the BMX track that will be used for the sport’s Olympic debut in Beijing this August. Ritzenthaler, a 33-year-old veteran BMX competitor, has built dozens of BMX tracks around the world, but USA Cycling’s training facility in Chula Vista is the only course that currently replicates the UCI Supercross style that Olympic athletes will see in Beijing.
The course is also the only permanent Supercross structure in the nation. Completed in January, the track will offer training and competition grounds for some of the top American BMX athletes as they prepare to qualify for this summer’s Olympic Games.
“The grand opening represents an exciting opportunity for our BMX athletes,” added Mike King, USA Cycling's Director of BMX Programs and former world champion. “This venue was designed specifically for our elite athletes and is expected to set the standard for other countries to follow. The ultimate goal when contributing to the design, construction and financing of the facility was to accurately replicate the Beijing track and hopefully bring home some medals from the Games.”
Seven of the United States’ top BMX athletes and 2008 Olympic hopefuls were in attendance at the event, including three-time world champion and top-ranked American Kyle Bennett (Conroe, Texas), Donny Robinson (Napa, Calif.), Mike Day (Santa Clarita, Calif.), Steven Cisar (Altadena, Calif.), Jill Kintner (Seattle, Wash.), Arielle Martin (Pleasant Grove, Utah) and Amanda Geving (Largo, Fla.) along with USA Cycling and USOC officials.
Kintner, a BMX and three-time 4-cross mountain bike world champion, has been at the Olympic Training Center since early December as one of six athletes taking part in USA Cycling’s resident athlete program. As an experienced rider, she's seen and rode on several of the world’s best courses including the one in Beijing.
"It’s going to be such an advantage having this replica track in our backyard," she said. "The Olympic Training Center has opened my eyes to what the possibilities could be towards an Olympic dream, and they have provided an incredible resource. In my normal life, meeting all these different athletes and learning from those who have been to the Olympics before just wouldn’t have been available. This environment has plenty of positive motivation to train hard."
About USA Cycling
Recognized by the U.S. Olympic Committee and the Union Cycliste Internationale, USA Cycling promotes American cycling through its 60,000 members and 2,500 annual events. USA Cycling associations include the BMX Association (BMX), National Off-Road Bicycle Association (mountain bike), U.S. Cycling Federation (road/track), the National Collegiate Cycling Association and the U.S. Professional Racing Organization (professional men’s road). For more information, visit www.usacycling.org or contact USA Cycling Director of Communications, Andy Lee at 719-866-4867