New York Times Comes Full Circle With Online Olympic Track Cycling Video

Like other Olympic sports with global popularity but only in niche locales, track cycling comes to the masses every four years at the Summer Olympics.

There were few sports more prominent in the United States in the early 1900s when six-day races were all the rage for celebrities and high society theater patrons who made bets on riders competing in Madison Square Garden.

London Olympics' track cycling venue

Bobby Walthour, a track cycling champion at the time, was among the country’s highest paid athletes and made more than $100,000 a year. His exploits on and off the track were prominently displayed in the New York Times — including his image in a display advertisement for Camel cigarettes.

How ironic is it that it’s the online edition of the New York Times’ (Page 1, Aug. 3) that  featured a video, detailed charts and accompanying audio explaining the nuances of the sport’s most well-known event — the match sprint?

The video, “A Simple Bicycle Race,” begins with the description: “In the track cycling match sprint, riders go around a 250-meter track three times. Typically, they go slowly at the start, until someone makes a move.”

The narration of the video describes the event’s strategy and takes viewers around the track in animation and via the perspective of two riders’ head cameras via a split screen.

In addition to the Olympics, track cycling has a yearly World Cup circuit and a World Championship, the latter of which was last held in the United States in 2005 at California State University, Dominguez Hills in Carson, California.

The Olympic track cycling competition continues through Aug. 6.

To view the New York Times’ video, visit: Olympic Track Cycling

James Raia is an editor and publisher in Sacramento, California. Visit his site:

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