At just 22 years of age Sam Willoughby has already fulfilled his childhood dream – become the best BMX racer in the world.
The South Australian won the Men’s BMX World Championship in 2012, a silver medal in Men’s BMX at the Olympic Games in London, and dominated the pro circuit in the United States.
“It was always my dream as a kid to win the pro title in the US,” said Sam. “I’ve now won three USA BMX pro titles.”
It’s no surprise his next dream is gold.
“The one thing that’s missing from my resume in BMX is an Olympic gold medal, so I’ve got my eyes pretty firmly set on that over the next three years,” said Sam.
His Olympic dreams are a long way from the early days when Sam rode around his Adelaide neighbourhood as a four-year-old with his brother.
“When I was growing up every kid in the neighbourhood had a bike,” Sam said. “There were a lot of jumps around, and you rode your bike everywhere.”
Like most Aussie kids Sam played team sports like football and cricket, but preferred the solo pursuit of BMX.
“I was pretty driven as a young kid and teenager, and I liked the idea that I could do it my way,” said Sam. “It was always up to me on the track, up to me whether I train, or whether I didn’t.”
The BMX star left his parents’ home in Adelaide to move to the US to race professionally when he was just 17. Sam still lives in the US, where he races with Redline Bicycles.
Bikes have always been a big part of Sam’s life, one of the reasons he signed up as an ambassador for Happiness Cycle, a Bicycle Program that encourages more Australian teens to ride bikes.
“I was fortunate enough to have a bike all my life. I was pretty lucky. I like the idea of sharing that with kids who are less fortunate and don’t have the luxury of having a bike,” he said.
While Sam’s BMX career has made him a sporting superstar, the reason he loves bike riding is a simple one.
“When everything is said and done...it’s given me something to focus on, and it’s created a healthy lifestyle for me. I don’t think I’ll ever stop riding a bike,” said Sam.
“Whether it’s a mountain bike, BMX bike or a road bike, I’ll always be on a bike. It’s a great way to keep active.”