Host City: London, Great Britain
Venue(s): BMX Track, London Velopark, Olympic Park, Stratford, London
Date Started: August 8, 2012
Date Finished: August 10, 2012
The defending Olympic champion in the women's BMX race, Anne-Caroline Chausson of France, had come out of a 2005 retirement with the intention of competing at the 2008 Games, when the event was at the Olympics held for the first time. She had no interest in defending her title in 2012 and passed the torch onto her teammate Laëtitia Le Corguillé, the silver medalist in Beijing. Le Corguillé was certainly favored, as was her compatriot Magalie Pottier, the reigning World Champion. The nation, however, faced stiff competition in defending the crown. Among the challengers were Australia's Caroline Buchanan, ranked #1 in the world, Mariana Pajón, a fantastic rider from Colombia who was the 2011 World and Pan-American Games champion, and Sarah Walker of New Zealand, the 2009 World Champion and runner-up in 2010 and 2011. Shanaze Reade, the hometown favorite and World Champion in 2007, 2008, and 2010, was seeking to redeem herself from the 2008 Olympics when, in podium position during the final, she clipped Chausson's wheel and crashed, placing her out of contention.
In the seeding run, Buchanan, Walker, and Pajón posted the three fastest times and held the advantage going into the semifinals, where Pajón dominated her heat by winning all three of the races, just in front of Pottier every time. Buchanan and Reade were a class above the rest in their heat, placing in either first or second in every race. In the final Pajón continued her dominance and was never seriously challenged for the title, beginning with a terrific start and never relenting. Walker, who had been underperforming during in the semifinals, took advantage of a great start and gave it her all, finishing in the silver medal position. The surprise bronze medal winner was the unheralded Laura Smulders of the Netherlands, who had never won a major international BMX medal. Buchanan and Reade, meanwhile, suffered from poor starts and placed fifth and sixth respectively. Pajón's gold medal was the second ever for Colombia at the Olympics, after María Isabel Urrutia, who won the heavyweight division of women's weightlifting at the 2000 Summer Games.
|2||Sarah Walker||24||New Zealand||NZL||Silver||Final||2|
|4||Laëtitia Le Corguillé||25||France||FRA||Final||4|
|6||Shanaze Reade||23||Great Britain||GBR||Final||6|
|8||Brooke Crain||19||United States||USA||Final||8|
|10||Aneta Hladíková||27||Czech Republic||CZE||Semi-Final||5||16|
|11||Romana Labounková||23||Czech Republic||CZE||Semi-Final||6||17|
|12||Alise Post||21||United States||USA||Semi-Final||6||18|