Name: Niek Kimmann Country: The Netherlands Number in Rio: 313 Result: 7th
How did Rio turn out for you as an Olympic rookie looking back at the race now? Niek Kimmann: The level of the top guys in BMX is so high that I knew I could easily go out in the semi with some bad luck, or maybe even medal if everything fell in the right place.
The Dutch BMX scene got together on Friday night during the Moora Cup awards at the Skate Café in Amsterdam. The place was going to be opened the next day so having the wild BMX bunch in there the night before was a bit risky. But everyone behaved the best they could (ahum) and most of the nominated riders were present. BMX was celebrated and having everyone in one place together should happen more often because good times were had. And the winners are.....
This Friday December 16th the Moora Cup will take place at the Skate Café in Amsterdam. The new bar (with indoor concrete mini/bowl en paardenhoek) will be turned upside down when the Dutch BMX scene will welcome the cup winners. You can still vote till midnight today by going to the website. Here are the nominees.
Beste Flat Rijder * Dez Maarsen Sietse van Berkel Gino Stuart
Beste Broekie * Jari Roggeveen Niels van Maren Tristan van den Berg
Name: Merle van Benthem Number in Rio: 75 Country: The Netherlands Result: Semi final
How big was your struggle even making it to the Olympics? Merle: To be honest it was a pretty rough road to Rio. Had to deal with a fractured back, a torn ACL and a pretty bad concussion but once I made it, it was all worth it.
What were your personal goals two weeks before the Olympic race? Merle: My goals were to medal.
How much different did the track look when you saw it for the first time? Merle: The track looked a lot different during the Olympics than the first time we saw the track at the test event. Not just the green asphalt turns but the track looked way smoother and faster than during the test event.
How big was your team arond you in Rio? (mechanic, coach, nutrition, physio, family/friends, etc...) Merle: My parents and brother came out to Rio to support. My best friend who is a Dutch track cyclist and other couple Dutch athletes were in the stands to support. And of course the Dutch staff.
Name: Twan van Gendt Number in Rio: 148 Country: The Netherlands Result: 5th in semi
How tough was the competition in your country to get a spot on the Olympic team for Rio? Twan van Gendt: Well it was pretty tough. Jelle and I where the first nominated but due a lot of injuries I almost missed out on the Olympics. Making the main at the World Championships saved and secured my spot for the Olympics
Name: Laura Smulders Number in Rio: 110 Country: The Netherlands Result: 7th
Do you agree that the bronze medal of 2012 in London came a little as a surprise? Laura Smulders: Of course that bronze medal was a little bit of a surprise to me, I was only 18, had been training full time with the national team for one year at that point, and I still looked up to most of the riders that competed there. Nonetheless, I felt my absolute best racing in London, and was one of the fastest around the track, my first straight wasn’t strong enough in the semi finals, but I got it all together in the final and that was my best lap!
Sometimes the events where you have the least expectations turn out to be the best. Pier 15 skatepark opened up for a night of BMX. The best day of the week was picked to allow BMX at the skatepark for five hours: Monday. Some Fontys students were involved to get the jam going but Paul and I had no clue on what to expect. On arrival we were gladly surprised by the number of riders present. Pier 15 is a real street-ish park and we counted around 50 riders around 7pm. The Paul's Boutique banners were put up in a few minutes and the prizes were handed over to the students to display on a table. The park was open and the so was the bar.
The session was on with riders like Niels Mertens, Benoit VDG, Joeri Veul, Frank Nabuurs, Sem Kok, Jesper Vervoort who were later joined by Milan and Janos Baars, Steijn Leijzer, Sybren Planting, and Daan van Wezel. Daan did find something big in Breda by double pegging the rail of the balcony out of a tiny quarter pipe. It took a few tries, but he got it done.