Kye Whyte wants to push kids ‘to get off their consoles’ and become more active

Kye Whyte is adamant there is no substitute for physical exercise as he aims to ramp up his quest to inspire new generations of kids to get active by returning to the Olympics podium in Paris.

The Peckham BMX rider, who will be joined by defending champions Charlotte Worthington and Beth Shriever plus 2023 world champion Kieran Reilly in a four-strong GB squad, has been at the forefront of thrusting the Games towards a more untraditional demographic since winning his thrilling silver medal in Tokyo three years ago.

And as the International Olympic Committee shapes up to vote on a proposal to launch a new Esports Games, Whyte is determined to double down on his firm belief that sports and screens should remain entirely separate entities.

Kye Whyte, wearing a face mask, raises both his arms to celebrate winning a silver medal on the podium in Tokyo
Kye Whyte celebrated his silver medal win in Tokyo (Danny Lawson/PA)

Whyte is involved in the ‘Path to Paris’ challenge which encourages kids to form teams and map their own interactive route to the Games via the accumulation of virtual kilometres.

He told the PA news agency: “It’s about inspiring kids to do more activities rather than spending time on their iPads, and hopefully it will take them down the same road as me.

“I love gaming as much as anyone but obviously there’s a balance, and I think the problem now is kids see athletes working hard and getting injured and not getting paid as much as a person who is sitting on a gaming console, getting a million for winning a tournament.

Kye Whyte and Beth Shriever, with a Union Jack flag wrapped around them, pose for pictures with their medals in Tokyo
Whyte and Beth Shriever won silver and gold medals respectively in Tokyo (Danny Lawson/PA)

“I just think everything’s got a bit lazier. If we can push the kids to get off their consoles and get the football or the running shoes or the BMX or the skateboard out, it would be much better.”

IOC president Thomas Bach has long courted the potential esports movement but the announcement last month of the impending vote appears to end the prospect of it being incorporated within the existing Olympics structure.

The move would find favour with Whyte, who added: “In my opinion, it (e-sports) should not be included in the Olympics, it should stay its own separate thing.

“I’m not saying e-sports don’t work hard or practice to get better, but it takes away the feeling of actually being an athlete, training hard and getting an actual physical reward from it.

“If I’ve had a bad day I take my anger out when I’m training, whether I’m lifting heavy weights or pedalling faster. In e-sports it’s the game itself that sometimes makes me angrier, and leaves you nowhere to take your anger out.”

Team GB’s extraordinary success in BMX in Tokyo saw numbers at Whyte’s local club in south-east London double as tangible evidence as the IOC’s move towards so-called ‘urban’ disciplines is beginning to pay off.

Charlotte Worthington holds a bunch of flowers and a gold medal to celebrate on the podium in Tokyo
Charlotte Worthington clinched gold in the BMX freestyle in Tokyo (Mike Egerton/PA)

Whyte is at the forefront of that shift in perception, adding: “You used to go to a skate park and see young kids out smoking cigarettes or drinking then going to ride their bikes.

“Whereas now they see a path where if they actually take it seriously and stop the smoking and drinking and practice to get better, they can get to a better level and maybe even get to the Olympics.

“I would like to still see myself as a regular guy who just rides bikes. But there’s obviously a lot of kids in BMX who know me and have joined my club and say they’re going to beat me. They’ve only just started in BMX but I hope they carry on and maybe one day get to represent Team GB.”

:: Schools, communities and families across the UK are encouraged to join the ‘Path to Paris’ challenge and make this summer a season of movement and inspiration. To sign up, visit