during a practice run. Unsurprisingly, the best sports betting sites always made Mirra a favorite to win a medal in every competition he entered. Mirra’s genuine love for the sport made him a fan favorite and a household name. He tried his arm as a host for MTV, featured in a couple of video games, and was a rally driver for Subaru Rally Team USA. He loved chasing an adrenaline rush. Sadly, Mirra took his life on February 4, 2016. He was posthumously diagnosed with the degenerative disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a disease linked to repeated head trauma.
Mat Hoffman was only ten when he fell in love with BMX riding. Hoffman and his brothers built a quarterpipe from plans in an issue of BMX Action Magazine, and he never looked back. A year later, Hoffman received his first real BMX bike, a red Mongoose, and the rest, as they say, is history.
In 1986, the 14-year-old Hoffman entered two national freestyle competitions as an unsponsored rider. He was initially going to enter as an amateur, but his father convinced him to enter as an expert. Hoffman finished first in the 14-15 expert ramp, stealing the show in his home state of Oklahoma. A few months later, Hoffman finished first in the 14-15 expert ramp at Madison Square Garden and was instantly inundated with offers from sponsors and bike manufacturers. He signed a professional contract with Skyway. Hoffman broke the record for the highest air on a BMX bike, 26.6 feet above the ramp, earning him the nickname “The Condor.” He went on to create Hoffman Bikes, with the first BMX the company produced being called Condor. “The Condor” is still active in the BMX world, whether mentoring the next generation of riders or participating in events that celebrate the spirit of BMX.
Ryan Nyquist’s professional BMX journey began in 1995, and he quickly became a much- loved figure. Nyquist’s ability to excel across a spectrum of BMX disciplines, from dirt tracks to the park ramps, set him apart from the opposition. He also gained a reputation for performing groundbreaking barspin variations. Nyquist first competed in the X Games in 1996 and went on to win 16 medals between 1997 and 2013; four were golds. Since 2015, Nyquist has primarily focused on Slopestyle Mountain Biking; you guessed it, he is incredible at that, too. Despite paying more attention to mountain biking, Nyquist rededicated to BMX, returned to park riding, and was Team USA's coach at the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics.
Chad Kagy grew up idolizing his older brother, who loved riding bikes. The young Kagy learned to ride a bike and then made it his mission to ride faster than his older sibling. It is fair to say Kagy achieved that goal. Known in professional circles as “The Big Air Maestro,” Kagy consistently pushed the boundaries of what was possible on a BMX bike. He made the vert and big air disciplines his own and gained a reputation for incredible Superman seat grabs and tailwhip variations, ultimately leading to four gold X Games medals; he won 15 X Games medals. Today, as a seasoned BMX veteran, Kagy dedicates his time and energy to charitable endeavors, giving back to the community that he has been a part of since childhood.
Unlike the other four riders in this article, Nigel Sylvester does not competitively compete on the track. Sylvester made a name for himself in the concrete jungle of Queens, New York. Sylvester made everyday surroundings his personal playground, blending style, creativity, and fearlessness with flair and a love of entertaining. In 2015, Sylvester launched GO, a travel and lifestyle video series that has since garnered over 100 million views. His videos are shot with a GoPro entirely from his point of view, taking fans on an immersive journey. Sylvester has also branched out into film and fashion and even had legendary rapper Jay-Z reference him in the Frank Ocean song “Biking.” Check out some of Sylvester’s incredible moves if you get the chance.
As we wrap up our ride through the BMX world, it is evident that the likes of Dave Mirra, Mat Hoffman, Ryan Nyquist, Chad Kagy, and Nigel Sylvester have elevated the sport in their own way. Some have achieved this through their incredible performances at the X Games, others by showcasing their skills and breaking down stereotypes. However, they all share one thing in common: all five have inspired and continue to inspire the next generation of BMX riders. And that can never be a bad thing.