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What's Your Opinion on Downhill in the Olympics?

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1/15/2016 1:46 PM

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When we did the Forum Hot Seat w/ Stik a few weeks ago, this topic came up. I used to think DH in the olympics would be the end-all, be-all of DH having "made it." now i'm not so sure. i think i can see the pros and cons, but my gut says no. stik didn't think it was a good thing, others think it would be great. the XC course for the 2016 games in Rio is already having issues.

what are your thoughts on DH being in the olympics? good? bad? who cares?

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1/15/2016 2:28 PM

I say good thing. XC racing generally suits a dirt roadie, Andorra and a select few riders being the exception to this. I don't think this is the way that "mountain biking" as a whole should be presented to the world. I started riding because I saw a freeride video on youtube and thought "That's awesome" I certainly didn't watch people that looked like roadies on superlight bikes pedal for an hour, that doesn't look fun. As long as the courses could be made gnarly enough this could help inspire more people to view the most extreme side of our extreme sport and then ride trail at the weekend. To me that's not a bad thing

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1/15/2016 3:17 PM

Bad thing. DH must not become a commercialized sport, I don't care how many people start riding because of bringing the sport closer to them... When a sport goes big it changes, big companies putting money trough it, people that don't really know it start watching... Right now it's mostly riders watching other riders. The general attitude of many people who don't really participate in a sport that they watch is "my team has to win because 'xyz whatever', all the others can go f##k themselves". I don't feel this attitude in MTB in general and would like it to stay that way. It's a sport that's not for everyone but it's ok that way.

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1/15/2016 3:24 PM
Edited Date/Time: 1/15/2016 3:27 PM

I agree with AGR97 but I can't see how it would be possible to host a full blown gravity event every olympics, some counties that might host the olympics just wouldn't have the elevation.

I personally think that we don't need it. Our sport is in a great place right now, we have World Cups, world champs and events like rampage and now the Crankworx world tour, all of which we get to stream all the action, live. We have great bikes to ride, specific trail centres and professional build crew that make and maintain them For us. What more could we ask for.

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1/15/2016 3:24 PM

sasky115 wrote:

Bad thing. DH must not become a commercialized sport, I don't care how many people start riding because of bringing the sport ...more

Formula 1, Motocross, and Supercross aren't for everyone but a lot of people spend their time watching people do something they might never do. Big sponsors means more money to pros, it's about time they earned what other athletes who work an equal amount do.
And also some fans, hell a lot of fans of Downhill that are also riders have this attitude already. I don't think the sport going mainstream would cause this to suddenly come about. That's just part of being a fan of anything.

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1/15/2016 3:32 PM

JLutzy wrote:

I agree with AGR97 but I can't see how it would be possible to host a full blown gravity event every olympics, some counties ...more

I thought about logistics as well when coming up with an answer. You've got to remember that some sports take place miles away from the actual stadium and given the time that hosts have to prepare they can surely dig 1 track alongside building entire stadiums.

I agree that we are in a great place, but you could argue that we only got to this place thanks to the boom in the 80s and 90s with TV coverage many people started to ride and paved the way for the great time we're enjoying at the moment. Imagine how great it could be if that success continued for longer. It's about time Downhill had a second chance at mainstream coverage. In 10 years when we're all riding 10kg 180mm trail bikes (thanks to coverage more r&d and thus better bikes) that climb like mountain goats and descend like demons you'll thank me smile

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1/15/2016 3:46 PM

AGR97 wrote:

Formula 1, Motocross, and Supercross aren't for everyone but a lot of people spend their time watching people do something ...more

Along with big money comes cheating (well usually), if you're riding for the money you're in the wrong sport. If I was a pro racer I'd be happy to make enough to support myself and live the dream. In general I feel a greater friendliness in mtb than in any other sport, sure there are always a few idiots but I don't really know many. You talk about F1, MX...It always pisses me off when people that don't know jack about it are sooo smart how something should be done blah blah...I'm not a smartass about sports that I don't do. I like to talk about DH with other riders, everyone outside it luckily doesn't know about it or doesn't care so they don't try to argue who goes to which team and for how much money like they do with some other better known sports. I don't say the change would be very quick or dramatic but it could be a start...

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1/15/2016 3:50 PM

I'd be into it. I wouldn't expect the tracks to be gnarly, but certain venues could make it happen.
1) More exposure isn't a terrible thing, and it could 'legitimize' more downhill type trail building. Instead of some fringe sport you might be able to convince local land managers you need a double-black downhill-only bike trail for "training for the Olympics."
2) I can't imagine it would do anything negative for the image or the rest of the real competition via UCI. Olympics is like that already - everyone gets all hot and heavy and then a year later no-one remembers or cares anymore. How many viewers really go watch diving / gymnastics / etc after the Olympics?!? The UCI is already a political animal and they'll keep running the WC DH show no matter what happens in the Olympics.
3) I couldn't be more excited for the likes of Gwin or Minaar or Ratboy being a gold-medal Olympian. Look at how nuts World Champs is every year - could you imagine the emotion and bike setups and people coming out of the woodwork for an Olympic gold?!?

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1/15/2016 5:53 PM

Embrace change my friends, change is good.

I think it'll be awesome for DH to be an olimpic sport.. Exposure will be good, bringing more money into the sport would be awesome too, maybe finding new talent in different countries, exposing more kids to it. I think most of us would be stoked to get paid to ride bikes, the more money you get, the better.. DH is a very physical sport, you could get paraplegic, cuadraplegic.. You need expensive insurances for you and the people you love, save for old age, maybe you wanna travel the world on your off time.. I think that "It'll be enough if I get a couple of bucks and and some free bikes and gear" mindset is selling our sport short.. I mean of you wanna ride for fun and cuz you love riding your bike, you can do that regardless of DH maybe becoming an olimpic sport or not.. Why shouldn't ratboy or gwin make as much money as a SX or MX or rally racer make? They endanger their life in the same way, the train as hard.. As far s venues, i'm sure the olimpic comitee will come up with some sort of "track standards" sure some venues would be better than other but we already have our fare share of that on the WC circuit.. I'm all for DH in the olimpics.. Let's get some of that olympic's cash..

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1/15/2016 6:00 PM

I don't see how DH belongs in the olympics, but I don't think many of the sports currently in the olympics belong there (baseball, basketball, soccer, white water kayaking, road/xc mtb cycling, etc.). I'd prefer it if the olympics stuck to the basics like track and field, swimming, etc. I'd also prefer it if they went back to only allowing amateurs. Would the olympics be good for DH? I don't know. I suppose it'd bring in more money, but does that mean we have another stupid governing body chiming about how DH is run? Maybe enduro, dirt jumping, and trials on road bikes should be in the olympics too. When does it stop?

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1/15/2016 6:25 PM

I think it would be a good thing. The Winter olympics include downhill skiing so why not let the Summer games have downhill mountain biking.

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1/15/2016 6:31 PM

westeast wrote:

I don't see how DH belongs in the olympics, but I don't think many of the sports currently in the olympics belong there ...more

I'm with westeast. Did the ancient Greeks DH?

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1/15/2016 7:15 PM

DH in the Olympics = skinsuits

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They call 'em fingers, but I've never seen 'em fing.

1/15/2016 9:02 PM

I like the idea of being able to watch more DH.

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1/15/2016 10:35 PM
Edited Date/Time: 1/15/2016 10:36 PM

Adding Downhill to the Olympics could make many people aware of the sport and help grow it. I think add it to the Winter Olympics, so it could be held in the mountains but beneath snow line.

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Jon Martin

1/15/2016 11:31 PM

A massive amount of exposure for any sport never hurt it. There will be purists (i.e. snobs) who will scoff at a sport's commercialization, of perhaps a certain rider "selling out", or perhaps lose interest when a sport gains mass appeal. Such elitist thinking is sadly no different than the hipster movement. sad

The fact of the matter is, DH in the Olympics will give us riders more sponsors, more trails, better+safer equipment, and a bigger mtb industry, where there will be more people (not just riders, mind you) who can legitimately live off of mountain biking.

This may not be apparent in countries like the US, UK, France, and Canada, but exposure in the Olympics can potentially help hundreds of thousands of riders in places like Central Africa, Nepal, China, and the Philippines, where funding is sorely needed in the sport.

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1/16/2016 12:09 AM

Dh skiing is olympic isn't it??? So why not dh mtb??

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1/16/2016 1:00 AM

i'd love to see DH in the Olympics but sadly i think it will end up with dumbed down, groomed/Aline type of tracks and ruin the whole thing (just look at XC)

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Xanthi MTB Park: jester777.wordpress.com

1/16/2016 2:29 AM

When England Britain hosted the olympics we had a chance to showcase the fantastic mountain biking on offer but instead they built a goat track round a field and made it an embarrassment . That's the danger of putting DH into the Olympics . The venues will be chosen by location not quality . However , if they can put DH skiing in the Winter they should put DH biking in the Summer . Can you imagine all the skin suits coming back !

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1/16/2016 4:43 AM

westeast wrote:

I don't see how DH belongs in the olympics, but I don't think many of the sports currently in the olympics belong there ...more

Big Bird wrote:

I'm with westeast. Did the ancient Greeks DH?

My opinion too...

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1/16/2016 6:49 AM

Terrible idea. Keep it underground.

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1/16/2016 8:28 AM

The UCI is already good enough at f***ing over DH. We don't need the IOC on top of that.

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1/16/2016 11:13 AM

AGR97 has it right

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1/16/2016 12:37 PM
Edited Date/Time: 1/16/2016 12:40 PM

In my opinion it is the most direct way to bring DH to the masses.
It's so frustrating when you have to explain from the ground what DH is, because most people don't have a single clue of what it means. Sometimes one fella has seen Kelly's backflip over the canyon in a facebook video and than he thinks you're nuts and you (try to) jump 40ft cliffs on your mtb. But that's it.

More popularity to the sport would mean more money, more clubs (there isn't a single DH association or club in my country), more chance to pick up talents, more local tracks build or at least preserved... I would like to reach a land owner in order to get his consentement to build a track and having him saying: "DH? Oh yeah those nice smiling fellas riding wild tracks and enjoying nature in a rad way" instead of "Mtb what? Dh what? Get out!"

But the use of the Olympic Force comes with a big darkside... (pfffff pssshhhhhh) As long as we can preserve the "gravity spirit", the values of gnar, friendships and respect between the riders, we can make it and get people out from watching silly soccer and go out biking and sending.


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1/16/2016 1:52 PM

File that under 'Oh Hell no,' for the following reasons.

1) Most proponents of Olympic status for any sport aren't really trying to grow the sport, they've got their eyes on dollar signs. DH is already the most expensive form of MTB racing and it's much more geographically specific than XC/Enduro, going to the Olympics won't change either of those things.

2) Under current rules only one rider per country gets to enter Olympic cycling events. That means if DH were to happen at Rio it would happen without Gee Atherton, Sam Hill, Stevie Smith, Remy Thirion, Connor Fearon, Danny Hart and so on. The Women's would go ahead without Carpenter, Seagrave, Ragot or Nicole. Not much of a competition with two thirds of the world's best written out before the start line.

3) TV broadcast rules would neuter the event. See Olympic XC tracks compared to World Cup XC tracks. The track design would be ruled by making sure it had 100% camera coverage, easy access for broadcast gear and maximising sponsor visibility, the quality of the track coming somewhere down the list of priorities. It wouldn't be a great advert for DH.

4) Related to 1, with Olympic status comes government funding, comes the pressure to deliver results, comes the corruption. By the same token with Government funding comes reliance and collapse when that funding disappears. MTB racing in general has popped up where there are riders and the money to support it, Olympic status will add a layer of arbitrary politics over the top of that that we don't need.

DH is always going to be the F1 of mountain biking. It's too expensive, too specific and too dangerous for the majority. XC, Enduro and Tri are so massive because they reflect what 95% of riders already do, they just do it at the same time as 500+ other riders. They also all got there without Olympic status.

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1/17/2016 7:00 AM
Edited Date/Time: 1/17/2016 7:01 AM

DH in the Olympics would mean more $ and more support for the riders, but I don't necessarily agree that more $ is mo bettah. Tends to make assholes out of people. Plus....athletes are overpaid for what they do anyway. Millions of dollars to throw a ball back and forth in the air or pedal a bike? Are you freaking kidding me?

DH is the one sport where I kind of care about the riders' personalities...though this is probably because they're largely underpaid and doing it for the love...not because they think of themselves as effing demigods driving around in lamborghinis or bentleys, referring to themselves in the third person.

And yes...it would be a logistical nightmare to have it in Summer....

so it should just be fat bikes in winter on the dh ski courses. Problems solved.

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1/17/2016 10:06 AM

I say that it's a good thing, as long as NBC decides to televise it. Otherwise, there isn't a point.

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1/17/2016 4:52 PM

Bringing DH to the masses?

The masses can kiss our asses.

DH doesn't need or belong in the Olympics. Neither does XC,BMX and a lot of other sports,specially soccer.
I don't want DH to be a super sanitized, made-for-tv show like XC is now.

On the other hand,I'm not sure I want everybody to know about a sport where top-level athletes stick pieces of cardboard and female higiene products on their jerseys to cheat safety regulations.

Maybe mtb will never reach the heights of the mid-nineties again. Maybe it isn't so bad.

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26 years in the woods

1/17/2016 11:49 PM

Olympic sports in my opinion is not appealing enough as time goes by.
eventually organizers will look for more exiting sports. (it's happening in small amounts)
Athletics is what Olympics is about, but it will bore the younger generation even for participating.
DH could be the type of sport, which can draw a new crowd to the event in the future.
DH is a sport in the winter Olympics, so why can't it be a "summer Olympic" sport too?
Benny

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1/18/2016 2:23 AM

Nozes wrote:

Bringing DH to the masses?

The masses can kiss our asses.

DH doesn't need or belong in the Olympics. Neither does XC,BMX and ...more

A lot of people are making the point that if the tracks weren't good it would suck. Which is completely true, nobody wants to watch "DH Lite" because that's all they cpuld get the coverage to do but I believe a gnarly track could be made and filmed properly given the time available for each organiser. Even if the runs were only two minutes on a gnarly track that wouldn't matter and would keep people entertained. Getting the representation right would also be a problem seeing as Downhill is dominated by a select few countries. Although the effect of inspiring people would be a good thing for our sport IMO.

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