BMX: Track Terminology

BMX: Track Terminology


BMX is one of the fastest, most exciting sports in Rio. The men will race over 400 meters, the women 350 meters, filled with doubles, berms and rollers as they compete for the gold. Here’s some BMX track terminology so you can keep up.


The gate is eight meters tall and it’s where the riders set up in their assigned lanes. The front tires lean against the gate as they wait to drop in.

Starting Hill:

The starting hill is where the riders pick up speed and their lanes go out the window. The riders go from zero to forty miles per hour in what Team USA’s Connor Fields calls “the fastest two and a half seconds in the Olympics.”


Either a 180 or 90 degree turn, berms can serve as a valuable asset to riders.  Taking the right path on a berm can help you leapfrog your competitors. But beware; going too aggressive can lead to contact and a nasty spill.


A classic BMX jump, doubles are two hills spaced just far enough apart that the fastest route is to go through the air.


The riders will often face step-ups and step-downs.  A step-up is a short hill followed immediately by a larger one. A step-down is the opposite.  Riders can either pick up speed or drop back depending on strategy.


A roller is simply a small hill, but they can come as a single entity or in groups.  Just one of the many obstacles the riders face on their way to the finish line.

Rhythm Section:

A combination of hills and jumps the riders must work through while still maintaining a high speed.

Finish Line:

Pretty self-explanatory; whoever gets here first gets the gold!

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