Olympic Freestyle BMX - Competition Preview

by Chris Bierton July 30, 2021 9 min read

Logan Martin during Practice at the Tokyo Olympics Freestyle BMX

Freestyle BMX is started tomorrow at the Tokyo Olympics and we are way too excited about this... The competition schedule is:

Saturday 31st of July - 11am:  Freestyle BMX Seeding Round - Mens & Womens

Sunday 1st of August - 11am:  Freestyle BMX Medal Round- Mens & Womens

Both can be watching live on Channel 7 (we assume it'll be on the main channel) or on the 7Plus App.

We're so pumped to see two Aussie legends taking on the world in the Olympics - we've seen both Logan Martin & Natalya Diehm win National Championships at RampFest recently... but as we get ready for tomorrow, let's have a look at the field and see who they're up against:

Olympic Freestyle BMX Course Preview

The course for the Olympics is big and flowy - with a central box jump, lots of hips, big step down spine, and big transfers.  It doesn't really feature many big trick quarters - which will help some riders and not others, and there are some big transfers straight after the box jump that riders will want to keep speed for.  This is a course for a super clean rider - you need to maintain a high speed for the full run - any error or case will mess up all the lines and probably lead to a low score.

Look for riders to send their biggest tricks over the step-down spine and the central box jump - and anyone who can trick the transfers and hips is going to do very well with the judges.

Logan Martin riding the Tokyo Olympic Freestyle BMX Course

Logan Martin during practice on the Tokyo Olympic course.  From Instagram @loganmartinbmx

Mens Field - Athlete Preview 

Logan Martin

Australia - 27 years old

We're clearly biased because he's an Aussie, but Logan Martin comes into this event as a heavy favourite. A 2x Time world champ, winning the 2021 title just a few weeks ago, he's got a massive bag of tricks - 1080's, 720 combos, triple whips both ways, flip combos, and the all-new, Front Bike Flip. Plus, he's so dialled - hardly ever puts a foot wrong. The other competitors know what Logan will bring... they know it will be heavy, and they know he's super unlikely to crash.

How do we rate his chances:  9/10

Nick Bruce

USA - 29 years old

Nick Bruce really finished off 2019 strong, and certainly has a big bag of tricks at his disposal - 360 flips combos, 540 flair combos, big 720s etc... but what has let him down before has been his consistency - he needs to land a perfect run. He's got the ammo to challenge Logan, but will he land everything? Time will tell...

How do we rate his chances:   7/10

Justin Dowel

USA - 21 years old

Justin won the 2018 World Championships and kicked off Team USA's drive to top qualifier for the Olympics. He's got unique tricks, like the "twix" (tailwhip-barspin), and lots of barspin / down whip combos. But his results of late haven't been as strong as Nick Bruce - his runs are crammed with tricks, but often lack the heigh and amplitude of Logan & Nick. If he's added some more big tricks to his bag, he's certainly going to be one to watch, and at 21, he's got a few years left...

How do we rate his chances:  6/10

Daniel Dhers

Venezuela - 36 years old

Daniel Dhers is doing it for the over 30s - at 36 years of age, he's the veteran of the field, and there isn't much in BMX he hasn't won. He's super clean, and will put together a dialled run full of big whip combos, and unique lines for sure. He also won't crack under pressure - so look for him to be mr consistent through the event. We don't think he has the massive tricks to challenge for gold, but he'll put together a solid run to be in the hunt for the medals.

How do we rate his chances:  5/10

Kenneth Fabian Tercio Esquivel

Costa Rica - 27 years old

Kenneth has been a bit quiet over the last 12 months - without any contests, he's been doing a lot of training at home, so we're not quite sure what he'll bring out at the Games. He might have some new stuff he's been working on to wow the field. He's another rider who always does something different - with tricks like 360 super-indy's, unique flip combos and cool lines. He's had some strong world tour finishes, but we don't think he's won a stop yet... so he'll have to really pull something out to win here.

How do we rate his chances:  5/10

Declan Brooks

United Kingdom - 25 years old

Declan Brooks has been getting improving out of sight recently. A nasty crash robbed him of a world championship podium in our opinion, but look for him to hit back strongly. He always has cool, different lines on a course, and has bumped up his trick bag lately with double flips, 540 flairs and big corked 720s. We're rating him a hot chance for a medal, and a bit of a dark horse to challenge the favourites for a gold.

How do we rate his chances:  6/10

Anthony Jeanjean

France - 23 years old

Anthony Jeanjean is another young rider who's been improving recently - he's got a really deep bag of tricks and can match a lot of the other here - he can 540 flip, 360 triple whip, lots of flip combos etc. But he has really struggled with consistency in finals - putting together a clean run has been his undoing with a bad habit of crashing out in the last 10 seconds of high-scoring runs. Without any world tour podiums to his name yet, he's a bit of a long shot here....

How do we rate his chances:  4/10

Rimu Nakamura

Japan - 19 years old

At 19 years old, Rimu Nakamura is the baby of the field, but he's a serious weapon of a bike rider. He's visited RampFest a bunch of times too, and is a top kid. He's got some insane trick combos, and can probably air higher than anyone else in the field. As a home town hero, he'll be pumped to ride well, but we think he might be missing a few really big tricks and the course might not play to his strengths without many big quarters to blast on. Still, home town advantage will be something...

How do we rate his chances:  7/10

Irek Rizaev

Russia (ROC) - 23 years old

Irek Rizaev can do more tailwhip tricks than most - and has some really wild multi-trick combos in his kit bag... but again, has been a bit inconsistent on the big stage. He took a heavy slam in practice at the last world championships too - so might be a big down on confidence and recent comp practice coming into the games. But before that, he's another rider we haven't seen much of lately, so he could come out with a surprise... but we think he's a bit of a long shot here.

How do we rate his chances:  4/10

Men's Competition Verdict

We're putting our money on a win for Logan Martin of course (like we said, we're super biased).  We think he has too much firepower across the course - which also suits his style of riding.  If he nails his run, watch for everyone else to throw caution to the wind and go after him.

Nick Bruce and Rimu Nakamura would be the next favourites to get on the podium in our opinion - with Declan Brooks as a bit of a smoky chance.

 


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Womens Field - Athlete Preview 

Natalya Diehm

Australia - 23 years old

Natalya is tough as they come and we're going to be cheering her all the way. She's improved out of sight recently - getting way more comfortable on big ramps, and dialling in her tricks. Look for her to bring out the double whip air, flair, and maybe even a front flip... She probably doesn't have the big tricks of Hannah, or the big airs of Perris & Nikita, but she's got plenty of heart and if she'll put in a big effort to make that podium. We'll be cheering for her all the way!

How do we rate her chances: 6/10

Macarena Perez Grassett

Chile - 24 years old

We don't know a huge amount about Macarena, but we do know that she (like all the girls on this list), has been trianing the house down for this and learning new tricks to bring out on the course. With minimal competitions lately, we don't know how much she's improved, but before Covid stopped the events, she was a solid finalist, but didn't make any podiums. She'll be looking to improve at the games, but it's hard to see her gaining enough ground to take over from the other top girls.

How do we rate her chances:  4/10

Lara Marie Lessmann

Germany - 21 years old

Lara Lessmann is under a bit of an injury cloud, and Germany has bought an alternate in case she can't make the event. She has won a world tour event in the past, and has some unique tricks and combos that she can bring out on the course. Unfortunately though, she doesn't seem to have the really big tracks that it will take to challenge for the top spots. Again, we find it hard to see her sneaking onto the podium in this field.

How do we rate her chances:  5/10

Charlotte Worthington

United Kingdom - 25 years old

Charlotte has been bringing out plenty of new tricks at recent competitions, taking out 3rd place at the recent World Championships ahead of Perris and just behind Nikita & Hannah. She has a lot of similar tricks to Natalya, and will definitely be putting herself in the mix for a medal.

How do we rate her chances:  6/10

Minato Oike

Japan - 24 years old

Another rider we don't know a lot about - she came onto the BMX scene a few years ago and has been improving her results steadily. She'll be the home town favourite of course and will be looking to put down some solid runs. Again, without any world tour podiums to her name, it's hard to see her making an impact on the medals.

How do we rate her chances:  3/10

Elizaveta Posadskikh

Russia (ROC) - 27 years old

Elizaveta rides fast and hard every contest - and has some cool tricks too - but ultimately, we think she'll be a bit off the pace here. Another consistent finals rider without any podiums to her name, we don't think she'll have the firepower to go with the other girls when it comes to the finals.

How do we rate her chances:  3/10

Nikita Ducarroz

Switzerland - 24 years old

Nikita put together an awesome run at the recent World Championships - finishing 2nd, and just crashing out on a run that would have definitely improved her score. She's got a lot of 360 variations in her bag, and is fast and flowy around the course. She's a bit in between Perris and Hannah - and we think she's a massive chance of a medal. Again, she is a bit of a dark horse for the gold, but ultimately, we don't see her overcoming Hannah's huge trick advantage. But you never know...

How do we rate her chances:  6.5/10

Perris Benegas

USA - 26 years old

Perris is a past world champion, and one of the few athletes to actually beat Hannah Roberts in a BMX contest! She rides totally differently and will probably go higher and faster than any other woman in the field. This course does play to her advantage a bit with big transfers on offer all over the place. Her run will be very different to Hannah, but ultimately we think she'll be missing a few big tricks to really challenge for the gold. But still, she's a dark horse for sure - and a very solid chance of a medal.

How do we rate her chances:  7/10

Hannah Roberts

USA - 19 years old

Hannah Roberts has been a dominant force in Womens Freestyle BMX for years - and she is coming in as an almost un-backable favourite. On paper, she can't lose - she has more tricks, she can jump everything and she rarely seems to crash. In fact, her lead over the field in terms of tricks is so big, that she could probably do a "safe" run and still take the top spot. But this is sport... and anything can happen. The course might be a bit technical for her to do some of her bigger tricks and crashes always give anyone a chance. But if Hannah rides to her potential, she is basically unbeatable in our view.

How do we rate her chances:  9.5/10

Natalya Diehm Riding the Tokyo Olympic Freestyle BMX Course

Natalya Diehm on the Tokyo Olympic course during practice.  From Instagram @_natalyadiehm

Womens Competition Verdict

Hannah Roberts is the red-hot favourite to win and we can't see anything really stopping her - across the board, she'll probably be just too good for the rest of the girls.  

Again, we're obviously biased, and have to tip our girl Natalya to get herself a podium.  Perris & Nikita are both in great form, and would be favourites to medal also.  And Charlotte Worthington certainly shouldn't be counted out.  The podium fight will be close here.

 


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Follow our Team

Make sure you follow Logan Martin & Natalya Diehm on Instagram - send them some love and support because win, lose or draw, they'll be doing Australia and Freestyle BMX proud this weekend!

Natalya Diehm on the Tokyo Freestyle BMX Course during practice Logan Martin on the Tokyo Freestyle BMX COurse during practice 

All article images shared from their accounts.


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