BMX vert, street, park and industry legend Mat Hoffman was among the recognized inductees into the 2012 National BMX Hall Of Fame last night in Chula Vista, Calif., which also included pioneer BMX racer John Palfreyman Jr., BMX racer Eric Carter, BMX photographer Windy Osborn and the 2008 United States Olympic BMX team. Hoffman was inducted under the "BMX Freestyler" category.
"I've always been drawn to being an outsider and BMX came to me and gave me a world in which that didn't matter. It was a world where misfits could fit. It gave me complete independence and formed my identity. It was a "sport" with limitless freedoms to create with -- the whole essence was yours to define. It was something you couldn't just learn -- you had to be. This was a sport of pure expression, sport with the freedom of art -- putty in my hands. The rules were unwritten and were meant to stay that way. It was about creating for sake of just creating," said Hoffman during his acceptance speech.
He concluded with an endearing thank you to those that inspired him. "It's hard to feel worthy standing on this stage looking at a lot of people who've inspired me to live this way. Thanks for inspiring my life to be what it has become and will continue to be. I live to fan the fire that fuels our hearts through our bikes."
Hoffman's contributions to BMX reach far beyond his many vert-inspired firsts on a BMX bike. He was the first rider to grind a handrail, he helped pioneer stronger bikes and components in the early '90s (later building and spec'ing modern complete BMX bicycles at affordable prices), and he resurrected BMX freestyle contests following the demise of the American Freestyle Association in the early '90s, among many other firsts that continue to unfold throughout his career.
Basically, Mat Hoffman, now 40, shaped the course of nearly every facet of BMX freestyle and beyond between the mid '80s and now. And without him, there's no telling where BMX freestyle might be. A National BMX Hall of Fame nod is an esteemed honor, but judging by his achievements, Hoffman deserves his own wing in the ever-evolving museum that is BMX history.