Is mountain bike short track destined for Olympic status?

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Could mountain bike short track soon become an Olympic sport?

If UCI president David Lappartient has his way, it just might.

Speaking to Inside the Games, Lappartient suggested that the UCI is pushing for more Olympic cycling disciplines to be added if the quotas did not balloon the number of athletes attending the Games.

He singled out BMX flatland, team time trial mixed relay, and mountain bike short track as possible candidates to expand cycling’s already sprawling Olympic footprint.

“The more [disciplines] we have the better it is for our sport,” Lappartient told Inside the Games.

“I’m really on board with President Bach’s vision to make sure that the Games will not be always bigger, because then you have a lot of criticism against the Games and it’s difficult to find organizers, then the budget will also increase and we have to be reasonable,” he said.

“The goal for us is first of all to keep the five Olympic disciplines we have.”

Also read: Q&A with Christopher Blevins on short track world title

Lappartient said a mixed relay or mountain bike short track wouldn’t require additional athletes needing housing or transportation.

“These disciplines you do not need extra quotas, and for BMX flatland, you need 12 and 12,” he said. “But the first thing for us is to keep the five Olympic disciplines we have.”

Lappartient also hinted at a possible cycling medal in e-sports.

“And also one day why not have also one e-cycling medal, because we can use the same quotas, no extra athletes, and that could also be important for us,” he said.

Lappartient didn’t provide a timeline, but it any changes wouldn’t likely come until the 2028 Olympic Games in Los Angeles.

He also vowed to fight to keep cycling’s high-profile presence in the Olympic Games.

Cycling is one of the Games’ leading sports, with 22 medal events in five disciplines, including road, track, mountain bike, and BMX freestyle, and BMX racing.

Lappartient claims cycling is ‘the sport of anti-doping’

Lappartient also boasted that cycling is making the right moves in the fight against cheating, but said anti-doping forces cannot let down their collective guard.

“I would say it’s a big challenge because to lose your credibility takes only five minutes, to regain the credibility takes 20 years, so we are on the right way,” Lappartient said. “I would say today we are the sport of anti-doping.”

Also read: UCI confirms move to ITA for anti-doping efforts

Lappartient revealed that the UCI will spend even more money on anti-doping efforts in 2023, and said there is a renewed focus since the sport joined the International Testing Agency (ITA) on intelligence, sources, and police work.

“We decided this year to increase by 25 percent for next year the budget allocated to anti-doping, which is for us 10 million CHF ($10.6 million), so that is huge, nobody else in the world is spending the same level of financial resources as cycling,” he said.

“I really have the feeling that it is getting better, but I am not too naïve to think that everything has been completely clean, and I don’t think that this will happen one day in all the sports.”

Lappartient said “we still have to fight,” adding a veiled threat to would-be cheaters who cross the line that “one day we will catch them if they do something wrong.”

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