Host City: London, Great Britain
Date Started: July 28, 2012
Date Finished: August 10, 2012
Participants: 501 (321 men and 180 women) from 74 countries
Youngest Participant: Mathias Møller Nielsen (18 years, 137 days)
Oldest Participant: María Luisa Calle (43 years, 308 days)
Most Medals (Athlete): Guo Shuang (3 medals)
Most Medals (Country): Great Britain (12 medals)
The track cycling and BMX events at the 2012 Summer Olympics were held at the London Velopark, one of the city’s newly-constructed venues for the Games. Weald Country Park, originally intended as the location for the mountain bike races, was replaced by Hadleigh Farm, a 700 acre property owned by the Salvation Army, after the Union Cycliste Internationale deemed that the former would not provide competitors with enough of a challenge. The road race began and ended at The Mall, a street leading to Buckingham Palace, and travelled through Surrey County along the way while Hampton Court Palace served as the start and finish lines for the time trial.
There were a number of changes to the cycling program from the 2008 Olympics, most notably that the Madison for the men and individual pursuit and points race for both women and men were replaced by the multi-discipline event known as the Omnium. Although officially intended to level the field between endurance and sprint riders, many Britons saw this, as well as a rule limiting one entry per NOC in the track events, as a way of curbing the nation’s dominance in the sport; in 2008 they had won eight of the eighteen gold medals, four times as many as any other nation, and fourteen medals overall, twice as many as runner-up France. If this had indeed been the UCI’s intention it was unsuccessful, for Britain matched its gold medal haul from 2008 and nearly tied its overall count, shy only two silver medals. They were aided in this by the addition of three new events to the women’s program, the team sprint, the team pursuit, and the keirin, of which Britain won the latter two. Their dominance was even more pointed at their home Olympics, for no other nation managed more than one gold medal in the overall tournament. The big winners were Jason Kenny, Laura Trott, and Chris Hoy, each with two victories in London, followed closely by Vicki Pendleton (one gold, one silver) and Ed Clancy (one gold, one bronze). Hoy’s gold medals were particularly significant as they gave him six overall, allowing him to overtake the national record set by rower Steven Redgrave from 1984 through 2000 to become Britain’s most decorated Olympian.