With the introduction of BMX Supercross at the Olympics, kids need to learn how to do 40-foot jumps and launch from 26-foot start ramps if they want to be competitive.

At least, that’s what USA Cycling proposes, and they’re putting together a development camp to make sure our “kids” aren’t left behind as they progress from typical BMX racing to the larger, more technical “Supercross” courses used at World Cups and The Olympics.

“Throughout the course of the last two years, our primary attention was focused towards preparing our elite athletes for the Olympic Games and providing them with all of the resources necessary to succeed in Beijing,” remarked Mike King, director of BMX programs for USA Cycling. “But now that the Games are behind us, it’s imperative that we begin focusing more intently on developing up-and-coming athletes. We have an extremely deep talent pool here in America with more kids racing BMX compared to any other county. Now we need to encourage them to think on an international level and prepare them for the opportunity to compete at the sport’s highest level.”
One of the main goals for USA Cycling’s BMX junior development program is to bridge the gap between traditional BMX racing and the “Supercross” style – a bigger, faster and more technically demanding style of racing utilized at major international events such as World Cups and Olympic Games. As youngsters ready themselves to step into the international racing scene, they must prepare to tackle the 40-foot jumps and 26-foot start ramps that are commonplace in Supercross racing.
“We want to make sure these kids are well prepared for the transition to Supercross,” continued King, “which is why we’re initially focusing on 15- and 16-year-old athletes. As they complete our program and move into the UCI junior elite racing class, we want them to be confident and capable of racing on a Supercross track and ready to make some noise on the international circuit.”
The first immediate initiative of USA Cycling’s BMX junior development program is a testing and instructional camp set for Feb. 1-6 at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, Calif. – home of the only permanent Supercross-style BMX facility in North America. Next week’s camp will welcome 17 junior men and women who were invited by USA Cycling coaches based on several factors, including past results and future potential. The camp’s agenda will feature training sessions on a replica of the Olympic track in Beijing, instructional clinics on nutrition, weight training and sports psychology, baseline physiological testing and a Q&A session with Olympic silver medalist and former resident athlete Mike Day.
The February camp is one of four that are tentatively scheduled for 2009.
Complementing the guidance of King, several other coaches will provide direction and instruction to camp attendees. U.S. Challenge Class team manager Brian Fell, along with certified USA Cycling coaches and BMX experts Jerry Bradford and Jeff Glynn, will serve as volunteer coaches at the February camp.
While the overall goal of the USA Cycling BMX junior development program is to educate, inspire and prepare young athletes from a mental and physical standpoint for the rigors of international competition, King expects the graduates to leave the camp with a new perspective on what it means to be a world-class athlete.
“No athlete is made in a week, a month, or a year, but it’s my hope that getting kids into this facility and providing them with all of the tools necessary to succeed at their chosen sport will put them on the right track,” explained King. “After a tremendously successful Olympic Games last year, it’s already time to begin improving upon that benchmark for 2012, 2016 and beyond. This program is the first step in ensuring that the U.S. remains one of the top nations in the sport of BMX racing for a long time.”
Attendees for the first USA Cycling BMX junior development camp in Chula Vista include:
Jazmyne Harvey (Buena Park, Calif.)
Shelby Stacy (Bakersfield, Calif.)
Tiffany Bontorno (Georgetown, Mass.)
Audrey Zuloaga (Las Vegas, Nev.)
Taylor Wolcott (Roseville, Calif.)
Brooke Crain (Visalia, Calif.)
Tyler Schaefer (San Diego, Calif.)
Meghan Matthews (Menteca, Calif.)
Rusty Nesvig (San Diego, Calif.)
Anthony DeRosa (Toms River, N.J.)
Nathan Padilla (Lakewood, Calif.)
Austin (A.J.) Hiatt (Fresno, Calif.)
Austin Loebe (Dover, Del.)
Jordan Ryan (Springfield, Ill.)
Justin Posey (Winston-Salem, N.C.)
Justin Riddell (Cape Coral, Fla.)
Bryan Kipp (Parrish, Fla.)

What do you think?