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Lighten up! It's just the Olympics

August 18, 2008 | 10:18 pm

BMX rider Donny Robinson poses for a portrait during the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team Media Summit at the Palmer House Hilton

BEIJING -- BMX was invented in California and all four members of the U.S. team were either born or train in the state, so perhaps it's not surprising they pepper their conversations with terms like "cool" and "super fun."

Also not surprising is the fact they hope their sport will help the Summer Games chill out a bit, much like snowboarding and the halfpipe did for the Winter Games.

"What's kind of so great about us having the opportunity to bring BMX to the world is a lot of people don't know what BMX racing is," said Napa's Donny Robinson, the world's top-ranked male rider. "So it's such a huge thing for us to be able to kind of show the world that BMX is not just a bunch of kids going out riding, tearing up stuff. This has been our life, our passion.

"It's going add some edge and youthfulness to the Summer Games."

And, Robinson added, when the dudes and dudettes get a look at it, they're going to like it 'cause it's so radical.

"We're going 40 mph in less than two seconds," he said. "There's eight riders per gate, and we're jumping 40-foot jumps going 40 mph. So crashes, passes, everything happens. And it's one lap. There's no judging. It's over in 40 seconds. That's kind of what keeps people on the edge of their seats: Anything can happen.

"We kind of realized that, and that's what kind of keeps the thunder in us too."

-- Kevin Baxter

Photo of BMX rider Donny Robinson by Al Bello / Getty Images

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