Phil Liggett, best known for his commentary on major road cycling events such as the Tour de France, complained yesterday about changes to the Olympic Games that have resulted in a diminished track cycling program and said mountain biking and BMX should not be part of the Olympics.
"It is absolutely disgraceful what they have done. They have devastated the track with the new events and taking out the iconic events of the Olympics," Liggett said, according to the Herald Sun.
Liggett lamented the removal of individual track events like the pursuit, the kilo, the 500m time trial and the Madison as well as the addition of the omnium. Speaking of the omnium he said, "There is only one rider from each country in the omnium and they are a jack of all trades and master of none."
Over the years, some track events were dropped to make way for other cycling disciplines. Mountain biking was added to the Olympic Games in 1996 while BMX was added in 2008.
"We have never had a good mountain biking event. Thousands will watch them but they are not Olympic gold medal events. They weren't meant to be in the Olympic Games," said Liggett.
"They introduced BMX. Great, but I am sure [Olympics founder] Pierre de Coubertin would have laughed his head off if he found out it was an Olympic discipline. It might be exciting but we are talking the Olympic Games."
Liggett's remarks stirred up a flurry of reactions on Twitter with many expressing disappointment at the commentator's lack of support for mountain biking and BMX in the Olympics.
In response, Liggett, later tweeted on Thursday, "I have nothing at all against MTB or BMX, so please don't misinterpret what I said."