Track cycling has been around in every olympiad since 1886 except 1912 and this year, it celebrates its 27'th games!
If you are a regular sports fan that knows not too far in history as I am you would be surprised that there were much more events that 5 disciplines of today: keirin, omnium, sprint team, sprint individual and pursuit.
The longest running discipline is individual sprint, that has been around in 26 of the games. Followed by team pursuit, introduced in 1908, had been an event of 24 games.
From 1986-1924 the Olympics track cycling events were distance races. 1⁄4 mile, 1⁄3 mile, 1⁄2 mile, 1 mile, 2 miles, 5 miles, 660 yards, 5km, 10 km are distances that can really test the sprint speeds of the riders, but there were disciplines that were very exhausting 20, 25, 50, 100 kilometer races and also 12h race were soon cut from the Olympics.
A points race, held from 1984-2008, involved large numbers of riders simultaneously on track. Starting in 2012, the points race is one of the omnium events in the Olympics. This race can be one of the more confusing races to watch for less familiar viewers. It's a long distance race, usually 120–160 laps for men and women in major events and will take something in the region of 40 minutes. A sprint is held every ten laps, with 5, 3, 2, and 1 point(s) being awarded to the top four finishers in each sprint. In addition to the sprints, any riders managing to lap the main field are awarded an extra 20 points.The winner of the race is the one to have the most points at the end of the race.
Individual pursuit was an event from 1964-2008, based on the same rules as the team pursuit.
The third event that was around in 19 games was the 1km time trial, only to be cut from 2008 Olympics and ever since.
And probably an unknown event to many, but the 4th in the years it was running is Tandem track cycling with 13 appearances from 1908-1972.
Almost all of the above races were for men only since track cycling for women first appeared only in the 1988 games after almost 20 Olympics with events for men.
The longest running event for women the same as men is individual sprint with 8 game appearances. Keirin, omnium, sprint team and pursuit have only been an event for women for the 2012 games and this year Rio games. Hopefully, we will see more and more women in the games of the future!
From 11-16 august Olympic track cycling events will be held, so keep your fingers crossed for success!
Check back soon for articles on team GB cycling Olympic history and track venues!