Elke Vanhoof celebrates the partnership of her sponsor, 6d Sports Nutrition, with Team Belgium. | Instagram

Update July 9, 2024: Elke Vanhoof suffered a broken neck in a recent crash that will keep her from competing for Belgium in what would have been her third Olympics.

“Last Saturday I had a big crash in France resulting in a C6 fracture in my neck. The scariest hours of my life,” she wrote on Instagram.

We’re sorry to see her out of the Paris Olympics, and we wish her a speedy recovery.

Name: Elke Vanhoof
Country: Belgium
Sport: BMX Racing
Previous Olympic experience: Rio 2016, Tokyo 2021
Social Media: Instagram

Who is Elke Vanhoof

Elke Vanhoof is the single most successful Belgian female BMX rider in the short history of the sport at the Olympic Games.

Vanhoof became the first Belgian woman to compete at the Olympics in BMX Racing during the Rio Games in 2016. She made the final that year, another first for Belgian women’s BMX, ultimately finishing sixth. Her success in Rio led the Koers Museum Of Cycling in Roeselare, Belgium, to display the bike she rode during the 2016 Games.

It isn’t just about personal success for the 2015 UEC European BMX champion. Through her Project 91 initiative, Vanhoof continues to spread interest in BMX to younger generations in hopes of seeing the sport grow in her home nation.

Elke Vanhoof at the Paris Summer Olympics

Vanhoof enters her third and likely last Olympic Games competing in BMX aiming to reach the heights of her Olympic debut in Rio after failing to reach the women’s BMX Racing final at the Tokyo Olympic Games.

Injuries have hampered Vanhoof in the leadup to Paris. A broken back kept her out of the World Championships last year. A broken wrist and concussion in February nearly cost her the chance to compete in the UEC European BMX Championships.

“I’ve had a lot of injuries lately,” Vanhoof told Koers earlier this month. “So much so that I even started thinking about quitting my career. But I kept going despite everything and even managed to qualify for the upcoming Games in Paris.”

Because of her injury history, the Paris Games are likely to be Vanhoof’s last in BMX but she has dedicated more time to track cycling in the time between the Tokyo and Paris Games and will likely increase her time in that discipline following Paris.

“After the Games, I will continue BMXing, but without pressure and less intensively. I want to focus a bit more on the track. That is a bit more boring but a lot safer than a BMX course,” Vanhoof said. “I want to further expand my own Project 91. The Games in Paris are certainly not the end point.”