Tauranga 12-year-old Ollie Robinson’s big BMX dream is to be world number four. “Because four is my favourite number,” says Ollie.
He’s on track with his dream after placing second in New Zealand two a few years ago – but right now Ollie’s focus is on receiving a medal at the 2016 NZCT AIMS Games. “First place would be nice, but any of them would be great.”
BMX is set to become the 20th sport at the annual week-long intermediate-aged sporting tournament when it debuts at the AIMS Games on September 4-9.
Ollie’s mum Catherine is excited to have BMX added to the games.
“I think BMX is a sport that could be easily misunderstood if you don’t have first-hand experience.
“Having BMX involved in the AIMS Games will help to show, not just local families but visitors to Tauranga, that it’s quite an accessible sport and can be a really satisfying sport.
“It’s got a really good family vibe because families end up down at the track a lot. When one child starts riding, quite often whole families end up riding.”
For a while the Robinsons were all riding. Now it’s just Ollie taking to the track.
Ollie got his first bicycle for Christmas at age two, and he got the hang of it straight away.
“We were just at the track looking for somewhere for him to ride just a teeny tiny bike,” says Catherine. “He was going so fast with these training wheels on and not using them as they were designed for at all, but just flinging himself around these corners.
“He was just a menace with the training wheels so we took them off there and then at the track.”
Then at age six, Ollie got his first BMX bike and the ‘menacing’ continued.
“He loved the excitement, the challenges, the thrill, the rush and the buzz I suppose of BMX since then,” says Catherine. “I find it nerve-wracking to watch. But because he’s a risk-taking boy, I think it’s quite a good sport for him because it channels the adrenalin rush.”
He likes the speed and adrenalin, as most boys do. “I really like jumping,” says Ollie. That’s his favourite trick on his new carbon Haro BMX bike, wearing his fancy Troy Lee design BMX gear.
BMX debuts at the 2016 NZCT AIMS Games as a three-day competition including motos, time trials, and a school team challenge on 20-inch bikes.
Eligible intermediate-aged riders need to be members of their local BMX club, to ensure they have some level of track experience prior to the championships.
“BMX supporters lobbied us passionately for some time and in the end put together a proposal that we just couldn’t ignore,” says AIMS Games tournament director Vicki Semple.
“It will continue to add to the flavour of the NZCT AIMS Games and, as an Olympic sport, will provide another valuable pathway for athletes wanting to make it to the highest level.
“Even if they don’t have those ambitions, it’s just a whole lot of fun and really exciting to watch.”