Thursday, July 20, 2017

South Carolins's biggest international sporting event in history set to begin Saturday

The BMX World Championships get underway next with riders from over 40 countries  (

ROCK HILL, SC - Looking for something to do as the final sultry days of July give way to the Dog Days of August? Look no further than Rock Hill, SC when the biggest international sporting event in South Carolina history  takes place from July 22 - 29th with the BMX World Championships.

The BMX competitions in off-road bicycle racing are speeding into Rock Hill from more than 40 countries with 3,300 athletes and coaches for week long activities at the Novant Health BMX Supercross Track in Riverwalk.
The BMX Championship will be the largest in SC history

The facility, among the finest in the world, opened in 2014 as a training facility for world class cyclists as well a recreational track for adventurous riders to develop the necessary disciplines of the BMX sanctioning body the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI). The UCI is recognized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and administers and promotes cycling worldwide.

Accordingly, the Novant Health BMX Supercross track was built to the specific and demanding standards of the UCI and, as such, has been honored with the upcoming BMX cycling event. The world class Olympic caliber facility is located off Interstate 77 about 10 miles south of the Charlotte, NC city limits and only 30 minutes from Douglas International Airport.
BMX racing is filled with ups and downs ( 
It's the first time the BMX championships have been held in the United States since 2001 when Louisville, KY played host to the event prior to the 16 year absence. Last year the championships were held in Medellin, Colombia.

Some 20,000 enthusiastic spectators are expected to be on  hand for the races. The Opening Event gets underway in downtown Rock Hill on Saturday, July 22 with a gala fireworks display wrapping up the festivities at the BMX site later that evening.

Historically the sport's popularity gained attention in the 1970s when youngsters began racing their bicycles in southern California. Today, 2.6 million people, of which 74% are under the age of 24, are involved in BMX racing throughout the United States. BMX is an abbreviation for "bicycle motorcross."
BMX became an Olympic sport in
2008 (wikipedia)
In 2008, the IOC sanctioned BMX racing as a full medal sport in time for the Olympic Games in Beijing, China. It was the first youth oriented action sport in the Summer Olympic Games.

As part of city's commitment to promote the region as a popular location for recreation facilities and events, and in an effort to enhance economic development by providing superior facilities for its residents, Rock Hill built the BMX track on land donated to the city with a $5.615 million revenue bond.

Repayment is based solely upon collateral from Rock Hill's local 2% food and beverage tax on prepared meals and not with property taxes.

Co-chairs for the 2017 World Championships community outreach are Gerry Shapiro and Sig Huitt while Mark Sexton is chairman of event logistics. John Gettys heads up the Sports Commission.
The action is always fast and furious  (wikipedia)
Other Riverwalk cycling facilities include the Giordana Velodrome which opened in 2012 with a 250 meter world class cycling facility, approximately 7 miles of natural surface mountain bike trails along serpentine paths that parallel the Catawba River and a 1.1 mile closed road course called the Criterium which provides a safe place for cyclists to ride with minimal interaction with pedestrians and motor vehicles.

Future plans call for a Cyclocross  ( 
Future expansion includes a Cyclocross course that will combine bike racing with paved and off-road sections featuring man-made or natural obstacles to challenge riders.
Events get underway Saturday, July 22  (
In the past decade, sports tourism has added more than $140 in direct economic impact for community businesses.

It all gets underway on Saturday and runs throughout the week. For information contact  Katie Quinn or Laurie Helms

And as August approaches, you can be certain it won't be any hotter than the action in Rock Hill during the last week of July.