This weekend, one of the newest Olympic sports is in town looking to fill the void left by the excitement and flair after the fireworks and Fourth of July festivities.
Almost half of the 48 racers who competed in the 2012 London Olympic Games will compete at the USA BMX National Series at the South Park BMX track, an event that runs today through Sunday.
All five members of the U.S. London Olympic team will race, as well as one of the biggest names in the sport, Latvian Maris Strombergs. He was an Olympic gold medalist in 2008 and 2012 and is one of the best racers on the national series.
BMX made its Olympic debut in 2008 in Beijing, promoting a sport that gained popularity with younger crowds through ESPN's X Games and other similar events. The United States claimed two of the top three spots in the men's competition and third in the women's in the initial year of competition but didn't fare as well in London.
The best American finish was seventh for the men and eighth for the women. The Olympics have brought more exposure to the sport, which would theoretically help the United States in developing younger talent by creating a pipeline between the grassroots competition and the Olympic-level competition.
But the exposure has been worldwide, not just nationally, as New Zealand, Columbia, France and South Africa are just a few of the countries that will be represented by elite competitors this weekend.
It's not just professionals who will race, as more than 1,000 amateur competitors from more than 30 states will ride as well. The amateurs are as young as 2 and some are older than 70.
Spectators are invited to watch all-day practices today and Saturday before the main event starts at 1 p.m. Sunday. More information about the event can be found at spbmx.net or by calling 412-337-2013.
Everett Cook: firstname.lastname@example.org and Twitter @everettcook.