It’s full speed ahead for BMX venues in the U.S. The sport has recently jumped—and landed—across a wide divide. BMX, popularized in California, may take off in the South. Two Supercross facilities have been completed in Florida in the past year: in Oldsmar (near Tampa) and Sarasota, where Johan Lindstrom, the Swedish-born CEO and founder of Global SX Events, is based. Lindstrom revamped Sarasota BMX Supercross, transforming the country’s oldest BMX track into one of its best in time for the 2016 Union Cycliste Internationale BMX Supercross World Cup in October. Few are more qualified to do so than Lindstrom, who at UCI led the push to make BMX an Olympic event and built venues for the 2008 Beijing Games, 2012 London Games and this year’s Rio Games. He discusses how new facilities have pushed the sport forward.
Can you compare the state of BMX tracks now to when you joined UCI?
One problem I saw was professionals were riding on small kids’ tracks. They could basically ride a BMX track blindfolded back then. My first objective was to build tracks for [adult] BMX riders—that was the start of the new format called Supercross. We created more of a challenge for riders, pushing the envelope. Our first event was held in Camp Woodward, Pennsylvania.