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Who Will Make the Cut? Predicting the 2024 American Olympic BMX Team

The 5th edition of the United States Olympic BMX team is about to be determined. With one more major event coming up, the team is starting to take shape….kind of. There are still LOTS of different ways this could turn out. 



Like clockwork, every 4 years, there are always calls for who should and shouldn’t be on the team after it is announced. Whether it was Steven Cisar in 2008, Corben Sharrah in 2012, Jeff Upshaw in 2016, or any of the other alternates that were not chosen, there are always public calls for different racers to be on the team than the ones chosen. Usually, it is pretty clear who should and should not be on the team by the time games roll around, and in most years, I believe the correct team was selected, but unless the riders win and sweep the podium, we can always say, “what if?” 


The racers are all very aware of the criteria and what needs to be done to secure a spot, but the general public often isn’t, so my goal with this is to give you a “cheat sheet” of what to watch for in Rock Hill and why your favorite racer did or did not make the team. 


Team Size: 

The women are securely ranked second in the country ranking, meaning they will qualify for a full quota of 3 spots in the Games. 


The men are hanging in there like a loose tooth to qualify 2 spots. A podium and 3 total finals in Tulsa may have been enough to guarantee them 2 spots. I don’t want to say it is for sure, because anything can happen, but it is looking like the U.S. men will earn 2 spots. 


Criteria: 

The full document can be found here if you enjoy watching grass grow and reading this type of stuff: 



Here are the cliff notes:

  • If a rider podiums at the worlds, they are automatically on the team. 

  • Meaning if 3 women sweep the podium, that is your team. 

  • If 3 men sweep, the athletes finishing 1st and 2nd get the spots, as there are only 2.

  • If spots remain after the Worlds podium, the highest-ranked rider on the power ranking gets the spot. 

  • If spots remain (no one podiums; one spot is awarded based on ranking), it goes to a discretionary nomination. 

  • Points are only earned for making finals at World Cups, World Championships, and Continental Championships. USABMX national series races are not considered for selection criteria. 


This is how the points table looks; as you can see, the biggest points opportunity is at the 2024 World Championships: 



As you can see, podiums are weighted very heavily. You would need ten 8th-place finishes in a World Cup to equal a win. This is because at the Olympics, there are 4 things you can go home with: A gold medal, a silver medal, a bronze medal, or a participation certificate. 4th and back is all pretty much the same. As someone who has a 7th and an 8th place finish at the Olympics and 2 participation certificates on the wall, I can confirm this first-hand. It is all about podiums and that is all the team selectors, USA Cycling, and ultimately the U.S. Olympic team cares about. 



Let’s start with the women’s team. 

Here are the current power rankings: 



Barring 3 American riders not named Alise Post sweeping the podium, she is on the team as her points lead is MASSIVE. 


Which 2 ladies join Alise? That is where it gets tricky. 


From my POV Felicia will be top of the line for the first discretionary nomination. She got 4th place at the last Olympic games and won the World Championship 2 years ago, along with making 3 finals at World Cups this year. All things none of the other athletes can say.   The only way she can be passed in the rankings is if Daleny or Lexis win in Rock Hill, but this would put them automatically on the team. Then Alise would earn the spot via ranking, and guess who would be next in line for the discretionary nomination? Felicia. 


So, barring anything crazy happening, like multiple women earning their first-ever international podium at the World Championships, it looks like Alise and Felicia are pretty secure in their spots. 


The third spot is where it gets tricky, and this will likely be a discretionary. This is where you will have a lot of people upset one way or another if their favorite rider does not get selected. I will not offer my opinions as I am not a selector, but I can tell you some of the things that will be considered: 


  • Previous experience at major events

  • Team cohesion and moral 

  • which athlete fits best to keep morale of overall team-high

  • Current form 

  • Age and potential for future games 


From my POV, I believe the women’s team will be Alise, Felicia, and the third spot is potentially up for grabs in Rock Hill. If Daleny, Lexis, or Payton can put it into the final and pull a result, that may be the difference to earn the spot. Payton needs a top 4 finish to vault into 3rd in the criteria, while Daleny just making it into the final may be enough.


Have fun with that one selectors! 


Men’s Team: 

In my opinion, this is the closest battle for a men’s team in U.S. history.  Here are the current rankings: 



As you can see, only 3 riders have advanced to a World Cup final in the past 2 seasons. Only 4 total U.S. men are racing the Worlds, the 3 listed above and Corben Sharrah. This means 2 of these 4 riders will be on the team this summer. I’ll break all 4 of them and their chances down below. As with the women, a podium is an automatic onto the team. 

Let’s start with the easiest one, Corben Sharrah. Corben was the alternate for the Olympic team in 2012 and was on the team in 16/21, where he advanced to the semi-finals at the Olympics. By far, he is the most experienced of the bunch; however, he has failed to advance to a World Cup final in the past couple of seasons. He has one chance to make this team, he has to podium at the World Championships. Do you remember what happened in 2017? Corben won the World Championships….in…wait for it…. Rock Hill. 


Outside chance, but stranger things have happened! 


For the other 3…. 


Cam Wood has a 33 point lead on Kam, meaning only a 1st or 2nd for Kam Larsen would be enough to overtake him in the ranking, but that would mean Kam was automatic anyway. Cam has a 51 point lead on Jeremy Smith, meaning Jeremy cannot overtake him in the ranking. 


Jeremy is 18 points behind Kam, meaning only a podium in Rock Hill will be enough to overtake him. Kam pulled a CLUTCH podium in his final opportunity at Round 6 of the World Cup in Tulsa. Without that, I believe Jeremy would be in the driver’s seat, with his podium in Australia being the only one earned by an American all year, and Kam would only have 18 points in total.


Cam has 74 total points, and a solid lead mostly built on a strong weekend in Argentina in 2023. However, 53 of those 74 points were scored in 2023. This is where the selectors would have a tough decision on their hands if it came down to it


In 2024, the season going into the Olympics the points look like: 


Kam: 36

Jeremy: 23

Cam: 21


But I do not believe that will be a factor. 


Here are the most likely scenarios, in my opinion: 

  • No U.S. men podium in Rock Hill

    • Cam earns spot off points, Kam off nomination. Jeremy is alternate 

  • Cam or Kam earn podium in Rock Hill 

    • Whichever K/Cam doesn’t podium, earns nomination. Jeremy is alternate

  • Jeremy podiums

    • Cam earns the nomination. Kam is alternate. 


Here is where it gets tricky 

  • Corben podiums

    • Cam earns nomination, Kam is alternate 

 

Here is where it could get ugly 

  • Jeremy / Kam podium, Cam 4th 

    • Jeremy / Kam on team, Cam alternate, highest earning points rider does not get spot. 

  • Corben and Jeremy podium 

    • Cam/Kam decision for alternate, top 2 points earners don’t go.

  • No U.S. men podium in Rock Hill, but Jeremy gets 4th 

    • Cam earns spot off points, Kam and Jeremy are pretty much tied in points with Cam’s best finish at a World Cup being 3rd, but the top 2 medal favorites (Joris / Romain) and the rest of the French team weren’t there, and Jeremy got 4th in a full field. Selectors have to choose. 


Based on the above, it seems to me that Cam is in the best spot based on his total points. Kam is in a good spot based on his points and most recent podium. But, as we know, it is BMX racing, and anything can happen. 


My head hurts from working this out, I hope you enjoyed and have some clarity. No matter what happens and who is named to the team, I hope we can all support whoever is wearing the red, white, and blue. Rising tides raise all ships, and having Americans reach success is good for the sport, the industry, and all of us who love it. 


Go Team USA 


-Connor Fields

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