Robinson gets third spot on U.S. Olympic BMX team

Donny Robinson can rest easily now. He's going to the Olympics.

The world's top-ranked BMX racer has been told by USA Cycling on Wednesday that he'll fill the third spot on the men's team headed to the Beijing Games. He'll join automatic qualifiers Kyle Bennett and Mike Day on the team.

USA Cycling did not intend to announce the pick until next week, but Robinson couldn't help himself.

"There is no reason to wait to let all of you know this great news," Robinson wrote in an e-mail to supporters which was obtained by The Associated Press.

Robinson's selection was hardly a surprise; it was assumed for weeks that if he wasn't an automatic qualifier through either USA Cycling's yearlong points series (won by Bennett) or the Olympic trials in Chula Vista, Calif. (won by Day), he would be the discretionary pick for the team.

But after he finished second at the trials, Robinson sounded anything but certain that he'd be Beijing-bound.

"I did all I can do and I have to hope it was good enough," Robinson said.

In the end, it was.

Robinson, who at 5-foot-5 and 150 pounds is considerably smaller than most BMX racers at the elite level, won an Olympic test event on the Beijing track last year and will surely be among the gold-medal favorites this August, when BMX makes its debut on sport's biggest stage.

He is also one of the most highly marketed racers in BMX, with endorsement deals with major Olympic sponsors such as McDonald's.

"The past year has been nothing short of spectacular and I only hope for better things in the future, but know that all of you are the reason for the success I'm having," Robinson wrote Wednesday in his e-mail to supporters and friends. "I wouldn't be in the spot I am today, without you."

With Robinson's selection, BMX becomes the first discipline to have its entire U.S. Olympic roster set: The Americans will send the three men to compete, along with Jill Kintner in the women's division.

In all, 13 of USA Cycling's 24 Olympic start positions have now been claimed. Taylor Phinney, Bobby Lea and Michael Blatchford are on the men's track team, with three spots left there; Sarah Hammer and Jennie Reed will be the two women's track racers in Beijing; Todd Wells is one of two men's mountain bikers headed to the games; Georgia Gould is one of two women's Olympic mountain bikers for the U.S.; Levi Leipheimer is the only automatic qualifier to the five-man men's road team; and Kristin Armstrong has secured one of the three spots on the women's road team.