Track Cycling at the Olympics

Track cycling at the Olympics is an event that seems like the only area where the Olympic Committee doesn't seem to have a complete grasp on. A number of codes of races gets added and removed between subsequent Olympics.

There was 5 codes of races for men and 3 codes for women in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, 8 for men and 4 for women in 2000, though the same codes were retained for men and women in 2004, it again changed in 2008, with 7 codes for men and 3 codes for women. For the first time in 2012 London Olympics, both men and women had the same 5 codes of races. How long this is going to last is for us to wait and watch.

Introduced in 2012 were some significant changes to the track cycling program. Removed from the program was the men's and women's individual pursuit and points race, and the men's Madison. Added to the women's program was the team sprint, team pursuit and the keirin, while Omnium was a new race for both men and women. The net result is that all event types now have competitions for both men and women: 1000m Sprint, Team Pursuit, Keirin, Omnium and Team sprint.

cycle sprinterThe new event the Omnium comprises six events:

  1. Flying lap (against the clock)
  2. Points race
  3. Elimination
  4. Individual pursuit
  5. Scratch race
  6. Time trial

Track cycling for men has been a part of the games since the first Olympics in 1896. The women's track cycling races were included in 1988. The individual sprint is the oldest event that has be contested in every Olympics except 2004 and 2012. The team pursuit race, which was introduced in 1908, is the second oldest and still surviving race that has be contested in every Olympics except 2012.

France, Great Britain, and Germany are the three countries that have dominated the track cycling events. Chris Hoy of Great Britain is the most accomplished track cyclist who has won six gold medals and one silver medal.

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