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BMX makes its debut at Olympics in Beijing
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BMX (Bicycle Motocross) made its debut in Olympics at the Bejing Games on Wednesday as 16 women and men cruised into Thursday's semifinals apiece.

Americans dominated the men's race with all three riders qualified for the semifinals, which boosted their confidence to win the gold.

"I don't want to just make it in the semifinals, I want to win. " three-time world champion Donny Robinson said.

Mike Day topped the table after winning all three runs with his best time of 36.080 seconds, followed by Robison who placed third in the first heat. Kyle Bennett also made a spot in tomorrow's semifinals, even he had a crash in the second run.

Since BMX originated from the state of California of United States, the American riders welcomed their involvement in the Olympics.

"This is my chance to show the world what BMX is all about. It's amazing that we're here. I'm honoured to be a part of this historic milestone." said Robinson, the world's top-ranked BMX racer.

"Having BMX in the Olympics allows us to have our sport be considered a big-time deal. We aren't punk kids that tear up shopping centers. This is our passion and our whole lives, and now we have the chance to show what we can do on the biggest athletic stage ever." He added.

In the women's edition, Anne Caroline Chausson of France took the lead in the three-run seeding race with a best time of 36. 660 seconds, beating two-time reigning BMX world champion Shanaze Reade of Britain to the second place in 36.882.

"Mentally, I was prepared, but then I did it (crashed) and I washed out. I don't know why I fell. We looked at the video. It's just one of those things. That's BMX," explained Reade.

Another French rider Laetitia Le Corguille placed third, followed by Sarah Walker of New Zealand in the fourth.

China's solo contender Ma Liyun tried her best, but only finished last in 42.015.

"I did my best. Even the result was not that good, I still do not think we lagged two much behind, " said Ma, who competed in the Olympics with a wild card after China failed booking a berth for the Beijing Games.

BMX was brought to China in late 1990s. China organized its first national team in 2003 and Ma was enrolled to the team and won China its first international competition gold in 2003 Asian Championship in Thailand.

"I have confidence that more and more young kids will like this game, and one day, We will make our place in the international field, " Ma added.

BMX is originated in the state of California, United States in the early 1970s, by teenagers imitating their motocross heroes on their bicycles. In 2003, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) made BMX part of the competition program of the 2008 Olympic Games.

The medal races of the Olympic newcomer will be held on Thursday.

(Xinhua News Agency August 20, 2008)

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