There are five different events on the Olympic program, all of which have men’s and women’s events.
Sprint: A tactical one-on-one match race over three laps. The knockout competition includes best-of-three match-ups beginning in the quarterfinals. Watch for the cat-and-mouse tactics as two riders competing side-by-side pedal slowly for two laps while carefully jockeying for position until a final sprint to the finish.
Team Sprint: A match race in which two teams begin on opposite sides of the track. Men’s teams feature three riders over three laps while women’s teams have two riders over two laps. After completing a lap, the lead rider of each team pulls out of the race, meaning only one rider for each team finishes the race.
Keirin: An eight-lap sprint race with six to seven riders on the track at one time. Riders begin behind a motorized pace bike which gradually accelerates by 20km/h before pulling off the track with two and a half laps to go to allow an all-out sprint to the finish.
Team Pursuit: A 4000m match race in which two teams of four riders begin on opposite sides of the track. One team tries to catch the other team, or at least post the fastest time, to advance to the medal races. Teams ride in single file with riders taking turns at the lead while the others draft behind.
Omnium: A multi-discipline individual event in which riders compete in six different races over two days, accumulating points for their placements. The races include: scratch race (mass start, 15km for men, 10km for women); individual pursuit (4km for men, 3km for women, fastest time wins); elimination race (mass start, last rider to cross finish line every two laps is eliminated); time trial (standing start, 1km for men, 500m for women); flying lap (moving start, 250m time trial); points race (40km for men, 25km for women, riders earn points during the sprints every 10 laps and by gaining laps on the field).
Canada’s Olympic History
Canada’s lone Olympic gold medal in cycling was won by Lori-Ann Muenzer in the sprint at Athens 2004. It was certainly an unexpected victory for the 38-year-old, who was the oldest competitor in the field and racing on wheels borrowed from the French and Australian teams after the only set she could afford had blown apart. The next Canadian women to stand on an Olympic track cycling podium were Gillian Carleton, Jasmin Glaesser and Tara Whitten who captured bronze in the Olympic debut of the women’s team pursuit at London 2012. Canada added another bronze in the event at Rio 2016 thanks to Georgia Simmerling, Kristi Lay, Allison Beveridge, Laura Brown, and Glaesser.
Canada’s most decorated Olympic cyclist is Curt Harnett, who won silver in the 1km time trial at Los Angeles 1984 before winning back-to-back bronze medals in the sprint at Barcelona 1992 and Atlanta 1996. At those latter Games, Brian Walton added a silver medal in the points race.
Canada’s first Olympic track cycling medal was a men’s team pursuit bronze won at London 1908.
|Sprint - Women||Lori-Ann Muenzer||Gold||2004 Athens|
|1km Time Trial - Men||Curt Harnett||Silver||1984 Los Angeles|
|Points Race - Men||Brian Walton||Silver||1996 Atlanta|
|Team Pursuit - Men||Frederick McCarthy, Walter Andrews, William Anderson, William Morton||Bronze||1908 London|
|Sprint - Men||Curt Harnett||Bronze||1992 Barcelona|
|Sprint - Men||Curt Harnett||Bronze||1996 Atlanta|
|Team Pursuit - Women||Gillian Carleton, Jasmin Glaesser, Tara Whitten||Bronze||2012 London|
|Team Pursuit - Women||Georgia Simmerling Jasmin Glaesser Kristi Lay Allison Beveridge Laura Brown||Bronze||2016 Rio|