Who Will Make It to Tokyo? A Look at the Current Olympic Qualification Standings

After this past weekend at FISE in Montpellier, France, our view of the Olympic landscape has cleared up a bit. There's still plenty of opportunity for change, but this is where we currently stand. A few quick notes that you may or may not already be familiar with to make this a bit easier to follow - 


Brandon Loupos - FISE: Montpellier 2019


- 9 riders will compete at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, Japan. Riders compete in UCI-sanctioned events to score points for their respective countries. If a country qualifies, that countries federation will decide which rider(s) will represent them in Tokyo. Some countries have already laid out a plan for how they will decide who represents them if they earn a spot, but this is completely independent and countries can address this as they please.

- Each country's two highest-scoring riders points will count towards the country's position in the ranking. Only two. If they have fifteen guys competing, it doesn't matter. Only the top two will count.

- The country who scores the highest amount of points will send two riders to compete in Tokyo. The countries who qualify 2 - 5 in points will send one rider. Japan is guaranteed one spot due to being the host country. The remaining two spots will go to the highest placing countries in the 2019 UCI BMX Urban World Championships who have not yet qualified. 

- The qualification period started on November 1, 2018 and runs through May 11, 2020. The biggest events still-to-come between now and then are FISE: Chengdu 2019, the 2019 UCI BMX Urban World Championships, and FISE: Hiroshima 2020.


Now that that's out of the way, here's a look at where we currently stand - 


1. AUSTRALIA - 7,420 Points

Top Two Riders - Brandon Loupos / Jake Wallwork

Australia is killing it. All signs point to them being the country who will send two riders to Tokyo. Brandon Loupos and Jake Wallwork are currently the top dogs, but Logan Martin is back in the mix after an injury left him sidelined through some of the qualification period. Logan was the highest placing Australian in Montpellier and there's a good chance we'll see a shift in their standings if he can keep it up. It is a very, very strong possibility that we will see two of these three guys riding in The Olympics. 


2. USA - 7,010 Points

Top Two Riders - Justin Dowell / Daniel Sandoval

I don't think anyone - myself included - could have predicted Justin Dowell's ridiculously fast rise to the top. After taking first in the 2018 UCI BMX Urban World Championships and at FISE in Montpellier, he is clearly the number one guy in the United States. Daniel Sandoval is next in line and Nick Bruce is tailing him in a close third. Passing up Australia would be a difficult task, but it's very likely we'll see someone from the USA in The Olympics and, if everything stays on track, that man will be Justin Dowell.


3. RUSSIA - 4,470 Points

Top Two Riders - Irek Rizaev / Kostya Andreev

Irek's second place finish at FISE: Montpellier gave Russia a bump up in the standings. He's been riding super consistent during the qualification period and is definitely the country's clear front-runner. With Kostya Andreev always in the mix, the two are stacking points at every event they attend and things are looking good. I think we'll be seeing Mr. Rizaev fly the Russian flag in Tokyo. 


4. UK - 4,258 Points

Top Two Riders - James Jones / Jack Clark

While in Montpellier, I heard more than one industry professional state that the UK team is "over-performing." In a race like this, that is the best problem one can possibly have. Under the tutelage of BMX legend Jamie Bestwick, we're really seeing these guys take it to the next level. James Jones and Jack Clark are currently the top dogs, but Ben Wallace, Declan Brooks, and Alex Coleborn aren't far behind. There's no telling who will be their top two riders at the end of the qualification period, but they're in a good place with so many killers in the mix. 


5. Venezuela - 3,430 Points

Top Two Riders - Daniel Dhers / Edy Alviarez

Just to be clear, Edy Alviarez is Venezuela's number two guy and he has 320 points. Daniel Dhers has 3,110. Daniel is in line to pretty much single-handedly qualify his country. That's pretty incredible. The BMX veteran showed up at FISE: Montpellier with a broken hand, but still managed to stack some points. Hard work pays off and Daniel Dhers is working harder than he ever has before to make it into The Olympics. The oldest guy in the running who is qualifying a country on his own? That's impressive. Somebody buy this guy a drink. 


6. Japan - 2,716 Points

Top Two Riders - Rim Nakamura / Toshio Takagi

Japan is the only country who is guaranteed a spot in The Olympics, but don't let that shield you from the fact that Rim Nakamura is one of the best park riders in the world today. Rim landed on the podium at FISE: Hiroshima and is always a major contender in the finals. It's virtually a given that he'll be the one competing in Tokyo, but it also looks like there's a strong chance he'll be earning that spot the same way everyone else is. 



Marin Rantes - FISE: Montpellier 2019

As previously mentioned, two spots will go to the two highest placing countries who have not yet qualified at the 2019 UCI BMX Urban World Championships in Chengdu, China. A few of the riders I see as strong contenders for these spots are Marin Rantes (Croatia), Kenneth Tencio (Costa Rica), Anthony Jeanjean (France), Ernests Zebolds (Latvia), and Jose Torres (Argentina), but it's really anybody's game!


There are numerous UCI C1 events coming up - smaller events where riders can win some Olympic points - but the next World Cup event is FISE: Chengdu in November. 

kylecarlson 6/7/2019 10:39 AM

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