Willoughby says BMX here to stay

Jordan Chong, NZ Newswire August 11, 2012, 9:38 pm

Mums and dads be warned. You are about to get a whole lot of "can I please get a BMX bike? can I please get a BMX bike?" from your children.

That's what Australian silver medallist Sam Willoughby is expecting given the popularity of the BMX event at the London Olympics, with sold-out crowds that featured a sprinkling of celebrities and lots of thrills and spills on the track.

And he hopes his success - Willoughby is Australia's first medallist in BMX since the sport made its Olympic debut in Beijing four years ago - will spur those back home to take up the sport.

"I think people are definitely jumping on board a bit now and they are interested," Willoughby told reporters in London on Saturday.

"Hopefully with this, getting the exposure it got, kids will want to go and get a BMX bike."

The 20-year-old Willoughby was the top qualifier heading into the final, having finished first, first and third in his three semi-final runs.

However, in the one-lap dash for gold, it was the Latvian Maris Strombergs who prevailed in the final to defend his Olympic title.

Willoughby said BMX's place in the Olympic program was "pretty secure".

"It was pretty sold out there on the weekend, a lot of famous faces in the crowd and people wanted to be a part of it and see it," Willoughby said.

"Our sport being so quick, it doesn't take a very big attention span, it's very appealing to the younger generation."

Willoughby said he had no problems with having just one lap to decide the Olympic champion, saying "that's just how BMX is".

"No matter what it is - World Championships, World Cup, local day at the track - it's one lap for the win," Willoughby said.

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