Olympic Mountain Biking Basics

What is Olympic Mountain Biking

What is Olympic mountain biking? It's one of the newest Olympic sports that is both a test in physical endurance as well as technical skill. The first Olympic mountain bike races took place in the Atlanta games in

Mountain biking is a very diverse sport with all sorts of different styles of bikes and riding. Olympic mountain biking pushes the body's limits of endurance and skill at the same time through cross country style racing.

The first Olympic mountain bike races took place at the Atlanta games in 1996.


The Mountain bike events at the Olympics consist of:

  • Men's Cross Country Mountain Biking
  • Women's Cross Country Mountain Biking

    The rules of cross country racing are pretty simple. In each of these races, the competitors from each represented country start at the same time and race their mountain bikes on a closed off-road course for about 2 hours. The first athlete to cross the finish line after a set number of laps on the course wins. It's about as simple as racing gets until you look at how demanding the race is on the body.


    Compared to other Olympic sports, cross country mountain bike racing requires quite a bit of equipment.

    First and foremost is the bike itself. The Cross country race bikes used in Olympic racing are meticulously designed to get the athletes around the course in the fastest and most efficient way possible. The engineering and materials that go into these bikes are second to none.

    These cross country racing machines can be either hardtails or full suspension

    Beyond the bikes, the athletes wear helmets, cycling clothes, gloves, and special shoes. They also carry water bottles and snacks to stay energized and hydrated.


    The exact course of the events aren't determined until the day before the race when officials look at the weather and trail conditions.

    Each race yields gold, silver and Bronze for the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd finishers respectively.