Rio 2016: Olympic BMX track was unsafe - Liam Phillips
Last updated on .From the section Cycling
|BMX Supercross World Cup 2016|
|Venue: National Cycling Centre, Manchester Dates: 9-10 April|
|Coverage: Select video highlights on the BBC Sport website|
Britain's Liam Phillips says he was compelled to speak out about the Rio 2016 Olympic BMX course because of the safety risk to riders.
The 26-year-old became the figurehead for a movement which saw the world's elite riders refuse to compete in a test event at the course in October 2015.
They claimed it was unsafe, with some jumps "too dangerous", and forced the organisers to make changes.
Phillips returned to Rio this year to test the revised course and said he was pleased with the progress.
Phillips, who competes in the BMX Supercross World Cup in Manchester this weekend, told BBC Sport: "Six months ago it was unrideable - it was actually impossible to do a lap from start to finish.
"I felt obliged [to speak out] because there are a lot of young kids coming into the sport and we needed to stand up because the situation was upsetting.
"We want to race and be on the podium because you have beaten other riders, not just survived the track - and that's literally what we were dealing with last year."
Discussing his return to the venue, he added: "They only finished the day before we started riding so the surface was still soft and there were teething issues, but it will be a very good race track in Rio."
A 'huge year' for Phillips
Phillips, who in 2015 became the first man to claim back-to-back overall BMX World Cup titles, hopes to start a "huge year" with a season-opening victory in Manchester, before the World Championships and Olympics.
He missed the Argentina World Cup last month in preparation for his attempt at a fourth successive Manchester Supercross victory.
"Each year the pressure ramps up, but I'm proud of my record and want to keep that momentum going," said Phillips.
"I don't think I have anything to prove, but I love starting with a race here."
Phillips has won every title on his 'home' track since Manchester first hosted a Supercross World Cup event in 2013.
He is joined in the Great Britain team by Kyle Evans, Tre Whyte and Quillan Isidore, with Paddy Sharrock missing through injury.
How does Olympic qualification work?
The British team have only secured two BMX places - one male and one female - at an Olympics since the sport made its debut at Beijing 2008.
They should again seal one female qualification place, but will attain the maximum three male spots if they rank inside the top four at the end of the Olympic qualification period in May.
GB are currently fifth with 3,993 points, with France fourth on 4,278 and a race victory worth 225 points.
"It's a position we've never been in before and two years ago when we started this process we weren't thinking anything like this could be possible," said Phillips.
"I'll ride the best I can to pick up points, but we've been open as a squad and they [Evans and Whyte] know they need to step up and score points themselves."
Used to race my mates when i was 10 back in 1985, cant imagine its much different to that.
Shall we reminisce like old farts? I was 10 by 1981, and my first BMX was a Raleigh Burner. Remember them? What a lump! Horrible to ride.
I then deviated into freestyle BMX and built my own bike around a DP frame. Every component was green, ordered by post out of the magazines (no eBay in those days).
Rode it six miles each way to school back. Crazy, but fun.
Lots of children play football - does this mean football is a kiddies sport that you need to give up before you're out of your teens?
I don't have any issues with it being in the Olympics.
It's exciting to watch and the cyclists themselves are hugely powerful.
But an Olympic sport? No way! It's one of many sports that should never have got near the Olympics, and that's why the Games are a shadow of what they used to be.
Get yourself a grown-up bike, Liam.
The next size bike up I guess is the freestyle mountain bike. Now that's a scary sport..!
And 'In Wenger We Trust'? Well, on that basis, we don't trust your opinion. That handle is a definition of the triumph of hope over expectation. Arsenal slipping down the league? Must be February........
Big boys (and girls) sports are available in Olympics including Golf.
Since when were childhood playground activities an Olympic sport. Perhaps the course is dangerous because it is designed for 11 year olds and Liam Phillips is too big for the course and the bike he is riding.