BMX racing began in California in the 1960s when teenagers wanted to imitate their idols in motocross. Initially racing on BMX bikes was the main competition; however, BMX freestyle, often called stunt riding, quickly developed as a separate discipline.
The American Freestyle Association (AFA) was the first governing body for BMX freestyle, founded by Bob Morales in 1982. From 1980 until 1987, freestyle BMX increased in popularity to a peak in 1987. Freestyle riding was originally not governed by the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), but it eventually became the governing body for the Olympic discipline.
BMX freestyle consists of five disciplines: park, flatland street, trails, and vert. In June 2017, the International Olympic Committee announced that BMX freestyle park was to be added as an Olympic event for men and women to the 2020 Summer Olympics. Until this announcement the prime competition for BMX freestyle had occurred at the X Games.
BMX cycling is governed by the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), which was founded on 14 April 1900 in Paris, with five founding members: Belgium, France, Italy, Switzerland, and the United States. The UCI was established as an alternative to the International Cycling Association (ICA), which had been set up in 1892. In 1965, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) required the UCI to split into an amateur and a professional organization, the Fédération Internationale Amateur de Cyclisme (FIAC) and Fédération Internationale de Cyclisme Professionnel (FICP), respectively. In 1992 the FIAC and FICP rejoined to form the UCI. As of 2020 the UCI had 193 members.